The headline above is the Daily Kos version of a widely reported story late in the week.
When Republicans don’t win, they change the rules of the game to suit their needs. It’s become the GOP way nationwide, and that could play out in North Carolina. One of the bright spots that emerged for Tar Heel Democrats on Tuesday was the election of a progressive judge over a conservative one, giving the court a 4-3 Democratic majority as of next year. Unless GOP lawmakers find a way to add seats to the court, reports Mitch Kokai.
“State lawmakers could vote to expand North Carolina’s Supreme Court by up to two additional members, according to the N.C. Constitution. There’s been speculation about such a move in the wake of challenger Mike Morgan’s victory over incumbent Bob Edmunds in this week’s state Supreme Court election. […]
Observers have asked whether the N.C. General Assembly could expand the number of justices to blunt the election’s impact. The answer is yes.”
The court currently has one chief justice and six associate justices, but the state constitution says, “the General Assembly may increase the number of Associate Justices to not more than eight.” Adding more than two associate judges would require a constitutional amendment.
But time is of the essence there if Democrat Roy Cooper ultimately succeeds in defeating Gov. Pat McCrory. Governors are responsible for appointing new justices. If Cooper prevails, he’ll take office on Jan. 11, 2017.
The newspaper dropped on my driveway each day is the News and Record. Its version is this:
Within that article are comments from Bob Hall, executive director of some commie outfit known as Democracy NC (we know when they call it “Democracy NC” what THAT means!). Bob says “he has not heard specifically of a legislative effort to add justices to the Supreme Court.
If it is true, Hall said, then
“it’s completely hypocritical and astonishing that a group of elected leaders who say that the will of the people matters would try to circumvent the will of the people in this Supreme Court race.”
Hall said the same voters chose to elect Republican Donald Trump as president, re-elect Republicans U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and, apparently, deny McCrory a second term.
“That shows a will of the people to have both parties with a role in control of the political process in North Carolina,” Hall said.
“Therefore, it would be expressively outrageous and an abuse of power to permit the additions to the Supreme Court because it would allow the legislature to conduct an outright takeover of another branch of government.
Bob is being kind and charitable and diplomatic in his language, as strong and unmistakably true as it is. When you lose, you lose. You don’t work the refs, you don’t get to change the rules, you don’t get to put extra time on the clock. Cleveland Indians Lost The World Series, But Are They Plotting To Steal It By Adding 2 More Games?
The disgusting chutzpah, the towering arrogance, the unmitigated, transparent attempt by North Carolina Republicans to control each and every aspect of state government in ways like adding more justices is no different than a military coup, just without the guns. But it fits perfectly with what we saw last week in the presidential election. A guy who nakedly ran on all kinds of caudillo, strongman, dictator precepts… the wall, the ethnic slurring and scapegoating for all problems, America First, the threats to jail the opponent, militarism, drain the swamp (but scrape bottom of swamp and dredge up Gingrich and Giuliani)… who could be surprised that the Triple-A teams at the state level wouldn’t be inspired to justify their anti-democratic means to their one-party, autocratic ends, even more boldly and brazenly than ever?
By 1937, Franklin Roosevelt was having many of his New Deal initiatives struck down by a conservative-leaning Supreme Court. So he came up with the BS idea that the court should add one extra justice for every one that was over 70. This was under the guise of charity to the elderly, since those old judges obviously couldn’t keep up with the workload. Known now as “court packing,” FDR was blasted by nearly everyone for his transparent plan to add more justices friendlier to him. He lost a lot of credibility for that scheme, paid the price and New Deal legislation was finished as the idea went away. More here. By a different name, North Carolina Republicans may try the same thing. This really needs attention to be paid and stopped. But the track record for checking the national and state Republican power grab recently is dismal. Ironically, it is often the courts that have been a last backstop, on voting rights, minority rights, abortion rights… the whole menu. Changing the refs ends all hope. Sadly, it must be said, that if even a small percentage of those who are pissed off enough at Trump being elected who are marching nightly had expressed that anger by voting, we’d be in quite a different place today.