January 3, 2022

RALEIGH – In a victory for the voters of North Carolina, and after unrelenting exposure by the Carolina Journal, the nonprofit journalism arm of the John Locke Foundation, the state Supreme Court has announced it will uphold the integrity of the judiciary, which will allow Republican Justices Phil Berger Jr. and Tamara Barringer to remain on NAACP v. Moore, a case brought forward by the NAACP that seeks to overturn the will of North Carolina voters as it pertains to two important constitutional amendments.

In an order just recently made public, the Supreme Court of North Carolina has walked back its intention of forcing the recusal of two of its justices, stating that the court will continue to observe over 200 years of procedure, which allows each justice to voluntarily recuse themselves, but bars outside parties from forcibly doing so.

“As we have stated from day one, it is the job of the state Supreme Court to provide the ultimate General Court of Justice for North Carolina citizens, and it is up to voters to determine who sits on the Court — not a strange judicial oligarchy,” said John Locke Foundation President Donald Bryson.

On July 23, 2021, the NAACP filed a motion for recusal of Justices Berger and Barringer. Democrat Justice Anita Earls, who worked as an attorney for the NAACP and is a member of the organization, was not mentioned in the motion. The Carolina Journal first broke the news of this unprecedented scheme to usurp the independence of the state’s highest court in September, which led to national coverage of the plot, as well as pushback from the legal community.

On Nov. 4, 2021, Locke joined the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law in filing an amicus brief, urging the Supreme Court to reject the effort to forcibly recuse Justices Berger and Barringer.

On Nov. 9, Carolina Journal launched ExtremeInjustice.com, bringing this story directly to voters across the state.

Bryson continued, “While the outcome is correct, the fact that the court would seriously entertain a motion to remove other court members based on partisan allegiance has possibly damaged the court’s legitimacy in the eyes of the public. We will never know what exactly was the determining factor here, but there is no doubt that the dedicated journalism performed by Carolina Journal to expose this scheme performed a valuable public service.”

If successful, the case at the epicenter of this story – NAACP v. Moore – would disenfranchise more than 2 million North Carolina voters. This case stems from the 2018 election, when North Carolina voters passed, with 55% approval, a constitutional amendment to require photo ID to vote, as well as an amendment to lower the state’s cap on income tax rates. The tax cap amendment passed with 57% approval.

Thankfully, the court will have its full bench of justices, duly elected by the people of North Carolina, to decide this critical case.