What did the SBOE do last night? It appointed Eddie Woodhouse to the vacancy (about whom, more below), ostensibly because the Wake BOE was under a judge's order "to rank the ease" of using four different district plans for electing the Wake School Board and County Commission this fall. Republican redistricting of the county has been ruled unconstitutional by the Fourth Circuit.
Mark Binker has the only press report we've seen on last night's surprise SBOE meeting. But Greg Flynn has come forward with the back story (in a Facebook post):
In 2000 President Bill Clinton made Judge Roger Gregory the first African American judge to serve on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, by recess appointment. Judge Gregory's nomination had been opposed and placed on hold by Jesse Helms. Eddie Woodhouse was a spokesman for Helms at the time.
Judge Gregory was one of two federal judges who decided that recent Wake redistricting plans were unconstitutional. Chafing under that decision which overturned his own, lower court judge James Dever has asked the Wake Board of Elections to rank 4 plans in order of preference, including the unconstitutional plan and two other unconstitutional plans.
Last night the State Board of Elections had an emergency meeting to appoint Eddie Woodhouse to a vacant seat on the Wake board. Now Woodhouse, protege of Jesse Helms, cousin of Dallas Woodhouse (executive director of the NC Republican Party) gets to prioritize a plan declared unconstitutional by a judge actively opposed by his former boss Jesse Helms.
Let's do the Time Warp, again! Does anybody else feel as if we're caught in some sort of cosmic Time Loop, reliving issues from 30 and 40 years ago that we all believed were resolved?
Thanks for the shout-out. I added to the post:
But wait, there's more! The other 4th Circuit judge who decided that recent Wake redistricting plans were unconstitutional is James Wynn. NC native Wynn was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1999. Helms actively opposed Wynn's nomination, in part because former Helms aide Terrence Boyle's 4th Circuit 1991 nomination had been rejected by Democratic senators when Clinton's election was imminent. Boyle was the US District Court judge who first heard, and rejected, the Wake redistricting case. It was transferred to Dever when Boyle's son Ellis was appointed to the Wake Elections Board. To be fair, Ellis is level-headed and even-handed. However, the legacy of Jesse Helms is strong in this case.
Also see Paul Blest, "The State Board of Elections Is Up to No Good" at The Independent: http://www.indyweek.com/news/archives/2016/08/08/the-state-board-of-elections-is-up-to-no-good-lets-explore?utm_content=bufferb68a1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
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