Jeff Hamilton: Derail this scheme

08/23/2014 8:00 PM

08/22/2014 4:58 PM

Regarding the Aug. 17 news article “ GOP moves to restrict challenges of N.C. laws”: The unprecedented new rule forcing all constitutional challenges to legislation into hand-picked three-judge panels this September puts all the power into the hands of the chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court. That office is up for election in November and will draw tens of millions in carpetbagger money. Whoever can buy that office will turn the third branch of state government into a partisan rubber stamp.

There is no provision in N.C. for a judge to recuse a case based on campaign contributions. The Republican legislature added a provision that bars suspension of laws until a case can be decided. If the lawmakers get a friendly chief justice, this means that even egregiously unconstitutional laws will stand until struck down by a federal court. The national shame and embarrassment they brought on North Carolina in the first session won’t matter anymore.

People who write laws in churches and boardrooms will have much less resistance from that messy thing called democracy. The Supreme Court races will be the most important ones on the ballot this fall. This is a national experiment that is being tested here first. It is up to us to derail this grand scheme with our votes.

Jeff Hamilton

Durham

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