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Judicial Independence Under Attack

Newby’s Supreme Court Team

After the GOP won a state Supreme Court majority in 2022, Newby’s “team” of justices has undermined democracy, civil rights, education, working people, and the environment at  breathtaking speed.

  • In Harper v. Hall, the Court reopened a previously decided case, and ruled that there are no state constitutional guarantees against extreme partisan gerrymandering in redistricting. Despite a constitutional right to fair elections, the General Assembly can rig districts to create veto-proof supermajorities for Republicans in a state where voters are actually evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans

    RESULT:“Instead of voters getting to choose their elected officials, Republicans are hand-selecting their voters and denying North Carolinians the right to a fair vote.”

  •  In the Leandro case, the Court once again reversed the prior court’s order that the state must provide funds sufficient to give every student a sound, basic education. The result is continued stalemate and insufficient funding for public education across the state.

    RESULT: Public schools lack the basic resources they need; students in rural and urban areas face appalling conditions; there is a massive teacher shortage, public education is in a state of emergency, despite large state budget surpluses.

  •  In Holmes v. Moore, the Court reopened a previously decided case, and overturned the lower court’s factual findings that the voter id law was passed with the intent to discriminate against Black voters, ruling that the legal standard used by the U.S. Supreme Court made it “too easy” to prove racial discrimination under the state constitution.

    RESULT: People without photo ID, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and people without a fixed address maybe denied the right to vote. Even people with IDs will experience greater obstacles to casting a valid ballot.
  • In Community Success Initiatives v. Moore, the Court overturned the lower court’s factual finding that the statute establishing how people with felony convictions can regain their civil rights was intentionally racially discrimination. Despite extensive evidence of racial discrimination, the new majority held that there was no proof of discriminatory intent.

    RESULT:  Thousands of people with felony convictions who have served their time are stripped of the right to vote, with little hope of being able to pay the fines and fees that keep them from casting a ballot.
  •  In Sound Rivers, Inc. v. N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality, the Court allowed Martin Marietta to discharge up to 12 million gallons of wastewater every day into Blounts Creek, thereby disrupting its unique freshwater and saltwater habitat.

    RESULT:  Advocates say Martin Marietta’s mine discharge would transform the swampy, slow-moving headwater habitat into a fast-flowing stream consisting primarily of mine wastewater, permanently altering the creek’s diversity of fish and abundance of high-quality fish habitat that make it a treasured fishing spot.


  • In State v. Jeremy Johnson, the Court refused to consider what legal standard should apply to claims of racial profiling in traffic stops under the state constitution, leaving in place a ruling that makes such claims impossible to prove.

    RESULT: Data showed that 82% of all motorists stopped by the Raleigh Police Department officer who arrested Mr. Johnson were black, and 81% of all persons charged by that officer were black. There will be no further examination of whether Mr. Johnson, who is black, was investigated because of his race, and no meaningful public accountability through the court system for racial profiling in traffic stops.

Peoples’ Parity Project Report in July 2023 found that the three Republican judges elected to the high court in 2020 are reliable votes for corporations. Justice Tamara Barringer has ruled in favor of employers or corporations in 15 of 19 cases, or 75% of the time; Justice Phil Berger, Jr. has ruled in favor of corporations of employers in 87% of considered cases. Chief Justice Paul Newby, elected to the Supreme Court’s top position in 2020, ruled in favor of corporations in 89% of cases.

All three of those justices voted in lockstep against injured workers and consumers, the report found, ruling against injured people in 11 of the 15 cases in 2021 and 2022 in which all three of the justices participated.