Gavel Grab

Commentary: Sifting Through Numerous Acts of N.C. Legislature

Fair courts in North Carolina are facing challenges from multiple directions as a result of action in this year’s legislature.

Gavel Grab has reported extensively about the legislature’s elimination of a public financing program for judicial elections. Billy Corriher of the Center for American Progress says in a ThinkProgress blog post that there’s more: the legislature voted to cut back on campaign finance disclosure requirements. He reports about an election changes bill approved by the legislature:

“The bill also eliminates a corporate independent spending disclosure rule and a requirement that independent spenders running ads from May to September of an election year must disclose their donors.”

Corriher also touches on changes judicial discipline procedures that the legislature approved. (The North Carolina Bar Association has urged a veto by Gov. Pat McCrory.) Corriher says the changes “will make the justices less accountable for violating rules designed to prevent conflicts of interest from undermining the integrity of the judiciary.”

In the Winston-Salem Journal, meanwhile, Scott Sexton has a column that scorches as “outrageous” the changes to the judicial discipline process. He quotes state Rep. Rick Glazier, a Democrat, as saying, “Everybody wants a fair and neutral judiciary that is fair and honest in dealing with the public.” Glazier added, “This undercuts the integrity of the judiciary. It makes it possible for citizen complaints (against judges) to be covered up or never to be heard.”

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