It hasn't been many years that judges in North Carolina began running without party affiliation. No more of that! sez the GOP leadership in the General Assembly.
They want judge candidates labeled "Republican" (and -- of yeah -- 'democrat') right there on the ballot so's they can know up-front whom Gawd wants on the bench.
The N&O editorial:
...The real change in a return to outright partisanship would be a more heavily politicized judiciary, and possibly more "political" rulings from the bench.
Why? For one thing, judicial candidates would emerge from party primaries that often are dominated by the most zealous Democratic or Republican voters. Only true blue (or true red) hopefuls need apply, and the temptation for candidates to take popular positions on legal issues would increase - the last thing a judgeship candidate should be doing....
But to the guys pulling the Republican strings in the General Assembly, it's just another brick in the wall.