Republican John Blust has spent one term as an NC senator and nine consecutive terms in the NC House, and though he's a good Republican soldier, he's also perfectly capable of being mavricky and pissing into the wind on occasion. He warned his House colleagues in 2013 about hubris, not that they were listening. He also vehemently denounced Republican Senator Trudy Wade's attempt to gerrymander the Greensboro city council in 2015.
Friday John Blust, who's not running for reelection and so what the everlasting hell?, stood up in a committee meeting and asked why the Devil Republican legislative leaders were even discussing seizing another appointment power from the Governor -- the right to appoint district and special court judges to vacated seats? (Special judges handle complex business cases and more, and though the governor’s appointments are subject to lawmakers' confirmation, Republicans want more.)
Rep. Justin Burr, a Stanly County Republican and chair of the House Special Committee on Judicial Redistricting, called the special meeting last Friday. Burr, an Albemarle bail bondsman, has been leading the effort to change election districts for judges across the state, and he'd also like to seize the power of appointing some judges. What could possibly be in it for a bail bondsman?
John Blust, last Friday, on the subject of hubris:
“Why are we competent to make this kind of decision on appointing judges” Blust asked. “Why do we want to take on one more thing that may not be an area we have expertise when we claim we have limited time and we can’t get to so many important subjects because of that limited time?”
Blust knows that only a few Republican leaders -- including presumably Justin Burr -- would actually be making those judicial appointments, if they're taken away from the governor. We know who “holds most of the cards,” Blust said. Everybody knows it. Phil Berger, Tim Moore, and their boys.
According to reporter Anne Blythe, John Blust invoked the virtues of democracy itself: “The governor’s one person, but he’s elected statewide,” Blust pointed out. Who elected us? Blust might have continued, in our gerrymandered districts? The people spoke. They wanted this governor to make those appointments, in keeping with the powers granted by the state constitution. Who are we to seize that power?
"Republican legislators have seen more than a dozen of their unconstitutional laws overturned in court, so now they want to handpick their judges," Ford Porter, a spokesman for Cooper, said in a statement after the meeting. "Legislative Republicans should respect our state’s Constitution instead of repeatedly working to inject partisan politics into our courts. "