Judgment day

By Steve Woodward

Moore County citizens, and North Carolinians across the state, should by now be acutely aware of the havoc that can be wrought by activist judges. Exhibit A is the state’s congressional map, redrawn as recently as 2016 when a court ruled the 2011 map unconstitutional as a result of so-called racial gerrymandering, and challenged again this year by a three-judge panel, skewing Democrat, only months ahead of pending 2018 mid-term elections. Fortunately for voters of all parties, an effort to re-draw close to an election was quelled.

Until the recent hard-left turn by the Democrat Party, the phrase “activist judge” rarely was mentioned. But the party gradually has become intoxicated by the practice of overturning the will of voters in courts.

This is relevant in these early days of November 2018 because there are six contested judicial races on the Moore County ballot. Despite their best efforts, Republican judicial candidates, most of whom are incumbents, will go into Election Day this Nov. 6 (Tuesday) likely wondering if their campaign appearances and yard signs will lift them to victory.

Democrats have the same fears, undoubtedly. There are multiple variables in play. Foremost among them is that voters, even some engaged voters, pay little or no attention to judicial candidates. Secondly, judges are not in campaign mode as often as state and federal congressional officeholders. They are less known, less visible, and not always natural campaigners.

Judge Barbara JacksonA prime example is North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jackson (left), who is running for re-election after an eight-year term. Prior to that, Jackson was six years on the North Carolina Court of Appeals as an associate judge. Despite her experience and reputation as a justice of utmost integrity, with a record to prove it, Jackson is in an uphill battle. In addition to being targeted by Democrat groups outside of the state (one run by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder), which are funding her opponent Anita Earls, Jackson has a second opponent in Chris Anglin.

Anglin appears after Jackson and before Earls on the ballot as a Republican because he simply switched his longstanding Democrat affiliation before filing. That such a loophole exists is a story for after Election Day.

“He is seven years out of law school,” Jackson said during an October appearance before the Moore County Republican Men’s Club. “I posit that he is in here as a spoiler (to confuse voters and take votes away from Jackson).”

We know RESOLVE readers are up to speed and fully aware of Anglin’s dishonesty. Now it’s up to all engaged Republicans to inform friends and neighbors why a vote for Justice Jackson is vital, especially given the defeat of GOP state Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds in 2016.

Also worth noting when you are imploring fellow citizens to vote on Tuesday is that there are two other judicial races pitting Republicans against one another. To be sure your friends vote for the endorsed candidates in these races (Jefferson Griffin for NC Court of Appeals, Seat 2, and Steve Bibey for NC District 19D Court Judge), ask them to carefully review the Moore GOP’s gold sample ballot before heading to the polls.

Finally, in addition to sample ballot “homework”, it’s suggested every Republican planning to vote on Election Day spend time over the weekend visiting the web sites of our judicial candidates.

Here they are:

Justice Barbara Jackson; Andrew Heath for NC Court of Appeals; Jefferson Griffin; Chuck Kitchen for NC Court of Appeals; Michael Stone for NC Superior Court; Warren McSweeney for NC District Court (unopposed); and Steve Bibey.

Historically, a “blue moon” election is a ho-hum affair marked by low voter turn out. But early voting data indicates Republicans outvoted Democrats handily and in atypically high mid-term numbers. The key on the way to Tuesday’s finish line is to fend off complacency when voting for Republican judges down the ballot.

“The game plan (among Democrats) is to start using state constitutions,” Justice Jackson said, “as a means toward political ends.”

Backing McInnis

At last, we move on down the path to the Fall mid-term elections. More than a few Moore County Republicans surely harbor lingering resentment about the lengths to which the state GOP establishment sunk to sink a primary challenge by Whispering Pines Mayor Michelle Lexo against incumbent Tom McInnis in NC-25 (although McInnis was no incumbent in Moore due to haphazard redistricting).

But in conceding defeat last week, Lexo took the high ground and graciously thanked her supporters. Republicans must now rally, reunite and take the high ground in embracing McInnis. Maintaining a GOP supermajority in Raleigh is priority one.

Although McInnis is facing a first-time candidate in Helen Probst-Mills, she is widely known in the community and not long ago hosted a fundraiser attended by Gov. Roy Cooper in her Pinehurst home. And that’s not all.

In its analysis of “races to watch” in 2018, the non-profit public policy web site RealFactsNC.com, makes the chilling observation that “the voters who sent (McInnis) to the General Assembly are gone (our emphasis) from his redrawn district.” Furthermore, fewer than half of NC-25 voters “have seen McInnis on their ballot before.”

Given that Moore County accounts for just under half of all voters in the district, this ostensibly means that Probst-Mills can legitimately make the same argument voiced by Lexo: I live in Moore; McInnis does not. (He counters by saying, legitimately, that he has owned property and paid taxes in Moore for 40+ years, and does, in fact, own a Pinehurst home).

The bottom line is that getting out the vote for McInnis is absolutely vital, and we must now leverage his backing from NC GOP heavyweights. Probst-Mills has fundraising chops, too, due to her status as a member of the Sandhills Community College Board of Trustees (and her alliance with far-left SCC President John Dempsey), and ties to Cooper’s inner circle.

But she embraces several positions that will encounter fervent resistance in Moore County. Probst-Mills echoes the baloney from the left that North Carolina teachers are underpaid and that our schools are neglected. (Some are and yet school boards are not held to account). She favors further expansion of Medicaid, fueling the entitlement engine Democrats always seek to expand. And her campaign web site makes the unsubstantiated — if not false — claim that “people’s ability to vote is being curtailed” in our state. What a whopper!

Sen. McInnis holds a significant advantage that can be a double-edged sword for politicians. He has a voting record in the NC General Assembly. Opponents can use this as fodder. Unless, of course, a majority of Moore Republicans support McInnis’s positions on jobs and the economy, education and vocational options, and Second Amendment preservation.

These issues, if communicated effectively, will re-elect our Republican Senator. Get to know the issues and get to work!

 

 

 

 

 

Courting judicial overreach

North Carolina is one of six states facing uncertainty as to how federal court influence could change traditional procedures through which district maps — Congressional and state legislative — are drawn or re-drawn.

The outlook for 2018 is that no significant upheaval looms in our state, owed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s restraint in weighing in on lawsuits related to map redrawing with a mid-term election approaching. Yet, in three other states, SCOTUS rulings are expected to complicate voting dynamics in the short term.

This is but the calm before the storm. Writes NPR’s Domenico Montanaro: “By June, the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to decide three major redistricting cases — out of Wisconsin, Maryland and Texas — that will lay some of the foundation for what the maps will look like, not just this year, but after the 2020 census that could affect control of Congress for the next decade.”

Democrats are convinced that activist judges can help them dominate gerrymandering into perpetuity. Courts are increasingly seen as willing policymakers by the left.

The Wall Street Journal, in a February 21 editorial, forecasts the ominous trend:

While the U.S. Supreme Court has held that partisan gerrymanders may violate the U.S. Constitution, it has been unable to articulate a precise legal standard. Democrats are now trying to tempt the Supreme Court into intervening in the intrinsically political redistricting process with social-science methodology that purportedly measures proper representation.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently not only was tempted, but defiantly struck down, with a 5-2 liberal majority, a Congressional map drawn by that state’s GOP legislature in 2011. “With the help of Stanford University law professor Nathan Persily they drafted their own new map (Feb. 19) for use in the May primaries after (Democrat) Governor (Tom Wolf) and the legislature failed to agree,” The Wall Street Journal explained.

And what does Pennsylvania portend? Writes the Journal editorial board:

Pennsylvania will be the future in every state if the Justices decide that judges should be redistricting kings.

 

 

Supreme timing

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday (January 18) suspended a lower court ruling that should eliminate drama and confusion leading to this November’s U.S. House of Representatives races across North Carolina.

Reports North State Journal, the SCOTUS’s decision “reduces the chance that the current district lines will be altered ahead of the November mid-term Congressional elections.”

The action voids a ruling earlier this month by a three-judge federal panel that imposed a January 24 deadline on North Carolina. This was the date by which legislators would have had to submit re-drawn maps for U.S. House districts. The lower court’s panel alleged that the state’s existing maps were unfair to “non-Republican” voters.

Re-districting committee chairmen Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) thanked the SCOTUS for giving potential candidates clarity as to filing and campaigning in the months ahead.

“We are grateful that a bipartisan U.S. Supreme Court has overwhelmingly halted the lower court’s 11th-hour attempt to intervene in election outcomes, restored certainty to voters, and ensured that, in the coming days, candidates for office can file in the least gerrymandered and most compact Congressional districts in modern state history.”