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NC GOP blasts media for reporting on ‘court packing’ speculation

Berger downplays talk of expanding NC Supreme Court

Sen. Phil Berger, president pro tempore of the N.C. Senate, downplayed talk of expanding the N.C. Supreme Court during the special session of the General Assembly.
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Sen. Phil Berger, president pro tempore of the N.C. Senate, downplayed talk of expanding the N.C. Supreme Court during the special session of the General Assembly.

N.C. Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse chastised the state’s media outlets Tuesday for reporting on speculation that the legislature might add two seats to the N.C. Supreme Court.

House Speaker Tim Moore said Tuesday that he opposes the idea of “court packing,” in which Gov. Pat McCrory would have appointed two justices to tilt the balance of the Supreme Court toward Republicans.

Video: Speaker of the NC House Tim Moore tells reporters what is slated for the special session of the General Assembly that convened in Raleigh Tuesday. They were called by Governor McCrory to address the issues related to Hurricane Matthew and

Several conservative groups, including the John Locke Foundation and Carolina Partnership for Reform, discussed the idea in the weeks following Democrat Mike Morgan’s victory over incumbent Republican Justice Bob Edmunds. The Locke Foundation later said its article was prompted by inquiries from reporters.

Legislative leaders never said they were considering the idea, but their statements until this week didn’t rule out the possibility.

Woodhouse said in his letter to reporters that he was “embarrassed by how the press fell hook, line and sinker for a court expansion crisis that was speculated by Democrats, rumored by Democrats, and fed by Democrats.”

“Some of you did not get this wrong,” he wrote. “But many of you did, by engaging in rumor-filled propaganda with no concrete or real reporting, and a ridiculous standard that no matter how we tried to refute this, it was never enough.”

Woodhouse argued that the press’ “standard” now requires Republicans to “deny everything that is not going to happen,” so he jokingly offered a series of denials.

“We are not going to shut down the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as punishment for their crazy liberal faculty,” he said. “We are not going to make voter fraud a capital offense … yet.”

Democratic Sen. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte addressed Woodhouse’s comments in a tweet Tuesday afternoon. “You can’t criticize people for believing something that you stubbornly refuse to deny – especially when there’s a certain history.” Jackson said.

Sen. Phil Berger, president pro tempore of the N.C. Senate, downplayed talk of expanding the N.C. Supreme Court during the special session of the General Assembly.

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