by Daren Bakst
Senior Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy, Heritage Foundation
There’s an effort driven by the North Carolina Bar Association to try and eliminate the election of judges and replace it by having liberal special interest groups pick judges.
As I have written, there was a constitutional amendment (SB 548) proposed to do this, but fortunately it hasn’t gone anywhere.
In the interim, Governor Perdue has developed a comparable plan to fill judicial vacancies (an express executive power). She did this through passing an executive order (EO 86: Judicial Nominating Commission).
You can read more details of the plan in the links I provided, but in simple terms, the Governor is:
1) Required to pick one person from a list of three Bar members picked by mostly liberal special interest groups. Each group identifies three candidates and gets one person on the commission. This counts for eight of the 18 members on the Commission.
2) Required to pick one judge from a group of three candidates identified by the Commission.
In today’s N & O, there’s an article about the alleged extreme bias of the panel. The partisan nature of such a panel was a given since liberal special interest groups were officially allowed to drive a significant amount of the membership on the panel and the Governor was appointing her own people.
There are some interesting constitutional issues regarding her executive order, which I will discuss soon.