Tuesday, November 28, 2017

She's Got My Vote

Durham attorney and founder of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Anita Earls, has declared her intention of running for the one NC Supreme Court seat that will be should be up for grabs in 2018.

That is, if the Republican bosses in the NC General Assembly don't cancel judicial elections altogether. Those guys are still roaming the land like ravening beasts, looking for prey, and will reconvene in January in Raleigh to do their worst.

According to Anne Blythe, a reporter for the News&Observer, "It’s unclear whether there will be judicial elections next year. Lawmakers have canceled the May primaries for all judicial races, a move that could bring many candidates out for one seat. The lawmakers also have considered proposals to do away with election of judges and put the selection process in the hands of a few, instead of voters."

By announcing for the office this early, and winning the support of ex-Gov. Jim Hunt among other prominent Democrats, Earls might be able to discourage a bunch of long-shot candidates. Or maybe not. It's certainly the intention of the Republicans to encourage a crush of competing candidates on the November ballot to run against their chosen one, incumbent justice and conservative Republican Barbara Jackson, increasing the likelihood that Jackson could win.

Anita Earls has built a solid reputation as a champion for voting rights, and she was a player in the lawsuits blocking the illegal Republican racial gerrymandering of many NC House and Senate seats. She said it was the Republicans' mucking around with the whole concept of one person, one vote that prompted her to run:
“In light of recent attacks on the independence of North Carolina’s judiciary, and on the right of all citizens to cast a ballot that is counted equally, it is clear to me that I have to not just talk the talk, but also must have the courage to walk the walk.”
Earls has an impressive track record. She served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the US Department of Justice under President Clinton, and she was appointed to the NC State Board of Elections in 2009 and voted to recommend a criminal probe of Gov. Mike Easley's campaign finances. She has served as "the lead attorney in North Carolina v. Covington, the state’s ongoing racial gerrymandering case, and for the League of Women Voters in a partisan gerrymandering case that went to trial last month in a federal court. She also led a challenge in state court to uphold North Carolinians’ right to vote without a photo ID." (Melissa Boughton)

Justice Barbara Jackson
The incumbent justice Barbara Jackson was first elected in 2010 and is completing her 8-year term in 2018. She's considered more conservative than other Republicans on the court and has of course received the endorsement of the NCGOP. The candidate questionnaire she filled out for the Independent Weekly in 2010 makes for interesting reading.

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