Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Berger v. Stephens Court of Appeals Race

PamsPicks.net, guest blogging:


Phil Berger Jr. (Tea Party/Republican): http://www.philbergerjr.org and Phil 4 NC on Facebook

OMG. This guy again. Better fasten what seat belts you can find, because my appraisal of Mr. Berger is going to be a tad bumpy.

Let's get right to the point.

Phil Junior is Daddy's little boy! Phil Berger Sr. is without any doubt the real Republican power in the state of North Carolina, running the NC Senate with an iron hand and treating Gov. McCrory as a mildly tolerable infant. In that role Phil Senior has done everything in his power to make sure that sonny boy gets a seat on the NC Court of Appeals.

But first, Daddy Dearest tried to get his son a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Phil Junior ran in 2014 for the seat vacated by Congressman Howard Coble, backed by wads of money and the full-bore influence of Daddy Phil. What happened? Phil Junior lost the Republican Primary that year, which shocked everyone, not least of whom was his father.

Following quickly that humiliating defeat, Phil Junior got himself appointed to an administrative law judgeship (with daddy's help, we feel certain), earning a cool $100,000 per annum. That job has obviously proven unsatisfying (from a purely partisan perspective), so Phil Junior now has his sights set on bringing his brand of toxic partisanship to the 2nd highest tribunal in the state.

He's running against a good incumbent judge in Linda Stephens, and he's doing it (IMO) to bring the worst conservative instincts into an arena where he can do the most damage.

The final straw in why I can't stand Phil Berger Jr.? Daddy Phil, at the last minute in the short session of the General Assembly this past summer and as President of the Senate, saw to it that the law got changed as regards random "ballot order," insuring that candidates that belong to the same party as the sitting governor get listed first. So now Phil Berger Jr. is listed above Linda Stephens on this November's ballot.

Why does it matter? Numerous studies have shown that being listed first on a ballot can give that candidate at least a slight advantage, especially on down-ballot races like the Court of Appeals race where candidates aren’t as well-known as presidential or gubernatorial candidates.

So, yes, I have absolutely no earthly use for any of the corrupt, puling, manipulative, self-serving and uber-grasping Berger clan. May they all go down in flames. And stay down.

Linda Stephens (Democrat): www.judgelindastephens.org and Re-elect Judge Stephens on Facebook

Stephens was first appointed to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Mike Easley in January 2006, but lost her seat in the general election of 2006. Easley then reappointed her to the Court of Appeals in January 2007 to fill the seat vacated by the election of Robin Hudson to the NC Supreme Court. Judge Stephens won a full term in the general election on November 4, 2008.

Stephens is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of South Carolina and received her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She's a progressive and smart judge who has benefited from the endorsements of the NC National Organization for Women, EqualityNC, the Muslim-American PAC, The Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, NC Academy of Trial Lawyers, and NC Association of Women Attorneys.

Her legal career has been a string of firsts: the first female law clerk to Judge Fred Hedrick of the NC Court of Appeals; the first woman associate, and then the first female partner with her law firm; and the first woman to serve as President of the NC Association of Defense Attorneys.

Stephens was named one of the top 50 women lawyers in the state by Super Lawyers Magazine and was listed among the Best Lawyers in America for her last 11 years in private practice. Since joining the bench, she has earned the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence and Lawyers Weekly’s Women of Justice Award, presented for “leadership, integrity, service, sacrifice and accomplishment in improving the quality of justice and exemplifying the highest ideals of the legal profession.”

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