Watauga GOP officer and attorney Nathan Miller brags in the Watauga Democrat that he and Bill Aceto just love "the rule of law" all to pieces, which they have been self-righteously and vigorously exercising to prevent college students from voting in Watauga County. It's not the rule of law, scolds Miller, when Stella Anderson fights back in court, and it's especially a miscarriage when some judge or judges agree with her.
It's "the rule of law" when the mechanisms of government can be turned against the citizens, or against some of the citizens, to prohibit them from voting -- like the removal of polling places. That was a local innovation. Or like the recent state-wide new rule demanding a government-issued photo ID to vote ... any government-issued ID will do but not a state university photo ID (just by the way). ("Rule of law"? A state university is a governmental institution, but to the Republicans who thought up the ID law, now shelved as unconstitutional, a state university evidently doesn't have nearly enough guns and Bibles to qualify those 18-to-25-year-olds as "citizens.")
For Miller and Aceto, it's jungle law when the livestock fight back. And simply unacceptable when judges agree with the livestock!
So the NCGOP has decided that judges must become partisan bots. They passed a law to make judges run by partisan label, the only state in the Union since 1921 to force judges into partisan elections. Judges must wear either red or blue robes and rally to their designated colors.
They're also redistricting all judicial districts, down to superior court and district courts, and just incidentally (purely by accident, I'm sure!) effectively eliminating half of the black judges in the state by "double-bunking" them so they have to run against each other. (Almost half of those "double-bunked" black judges are women.)
|Andrew Cox, The Appalachian|
What else? They've over-ridden Governor Cooper's veto of a new law that simply eliminates judicial primaries and makes it easier for unaffiliated candidates to file. Seconds after overriding that veto, Republicans introduced Senate Bill 698 which calls for a statewide referendum on a proposed constitutional amendment reducing the term of every Supreme Court justice, Court of Appeals judge, Superior Court judge, and District Court judge to two years. Judges will perforce become perpetual candidates for office and partisans to boot, jockeying to please their bases.
And get this: Senate Bill 698 would set the referendum for the May 2018 primary, when turn-out will be guaranteed low, not for November 2018 when turn-out will be much higher. (That's how the Republicans passed the constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage too.)
Nathan Miller, that lover of the rule of law, is a mere local symptom of a wider Republican virus that must seize power to stay alive, and pass laws to make the seizures legal.