Having served as a North Carolina prosecutor, litigation attorney, and trial and appellate court judge, I know from personal experience how important it is that every person has a fair and equal opportunity for justice. Our judicial system must be able to stand as an independent, co-equal branch of government able to exert its constitutional checks and balances on the executive and legislative branches.
Unfortunately, our courts are under assault by the majority in the NC General Assembly. Since taking office in January 2017, I have been a leading voice standing up against what I call the War on an Independent Judiciary.
Judicial elections are once again partisan, primary elections for court seats have been eliminated, and the Court of Appeals has been cut from 15 to 12 judges simply to prevent the Governor from appointing replacements. We have wasted months in the Legislature battling proposals for gerrymandered judicial districts similar to current legislative and congressional maps, to end judicial elections altogether and eliminate citizens’ right to vote for NC judges, and finally, to cut all judicial terms to two years so that judges would constantly be required to campaign and raise money. These proposals threaten the rights of every citizen, hurt the integrity of the judicial branch of government, and seek to concentrate all power in the hands of an unchecked legislative majority. That is bad governance, and I will continue to oppose it as long as I am a North Carolina legislator. To that end, during the 2019 session, I proposed House Bill 510, which would restore non-partisan judicial elections. This bill died in committee and never received debate.
PAID FOR BY JOE JOHN NC HOUSE 40 COMMITTEE
P.O. Box 97845, Raleigh NC 27624