CHERI BEASLEY IS FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN FEMALE CHIEF JUSTICE: Beasley will make history as the first black woman to be the state’s top judge. “This is not the North Carolina of 200 years ago,” she said in the press conference at the Governor’s Mansion where Cooper announced her new role. Beasley has been a judge for the last 20 years and has been on the Supreme Court since 2012. She was a public defender in Fayetteville before becoming a judge. Judges in North Carolina are usually elected, not appointed. But when former Chief Justice Mark Martin announced in January that he would retire this month, to take a job leading a Virginia law school, state law gave Cooper the power to pick someone to take Martin’s place.
PAUL NEWBY WHINES ABOUT NOT BEING CHOSEN: Newby, who also now intends to run for chief justice next year, said in a release that Cooper "decided to place raw partisan politics over a non-partisan judiciary by refusing to honor" the tradition that would have made him chief justice. "The governor's decision further erodes public trust and confidence in a fair judiciary, free from partisan manipulation," he said. Cooper's office didn't immediately respond to Newby's statement. Republicans also had urged Cooper to choose Newby. Supreme Court races had been officially nonpartisan elections until a new law was approved in late 2016 — just after registered Democrats regained a majority on the court. Justices have ruled this decade in politically charged decisions involving redistricting and Republican laws that eroded Cooper's powers.
GOVERNOR COOPER CONTINUES PUSH FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION: Speaking in Charlotte Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper renewed his call for Medicaid expansion, calling it “one of the most important life-saving decisions we can make.” Cooper spoke at a ceremony to honor a Mecklenburg County health program designed to encourage healthier lifestyles and diets in the African American community. Cooper, a Democrat, took the opportunity to push for Medicaid expansion. Democratic lawmakers have introduced bills this session to do just that. Up to 500,000 North Carolinians would benefit from expansion. Democrats have introduced legislation before, only to run into opposition from Republican super-majorities. But this year some Republicans appear to be more open to a form of expansion.
WAKE SUBSTITUTE TEACHER SAID MLK COMMITTED SUICIDE, STUDENTS AREN'T CHRISTIANS IF THEY DON'T SUPPORT TRUMP: A North Carolina substitute teacher has submitted her resignation after a student told his father that the teacher told his class that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was not assassinated but instead killed himself. Billy Byrd also says his son told him the unidentified substitute music teacher told the class of minority students they were headed to prison because of their clothing, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Tuesday. He said the teacher told the students they weren’t real Christians if they didn’t support President Donald Trump. King was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel on April 4, 1968. Wake County schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten says the teacher told the district Sunday she no longer wanted to be listed as a substitute teacher.
TRUMP APPEARS READY TO CHOKE DOWN THE BUDGET PILL: Mr. Trump pronounced himself unsatisfied with the agreement brokered by House and Senate negotiators, and he refused to publicly commit to signing it. But he all but ruled out another government shutdown and emphasized that he would find “other methods” to finance a border barrier, leading aides and allies to predict he would grudgingly go along with the deal. “Am I happy at first glance?” the president said, speaking with reporters at the beginning of a cabinet meeting. “I just got to see it. The answer is no, I’m not. I’m not happy.” But he said he was “moving things around” in the budget from “far less important areas” to finance a wall even without explicit congressional approval, and he expressed no desire to repeat the standoff that shuttered many federal agencies for 35 days. “I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown,” he said.