The nuts and bolts of GOP Judicial redistricting

Hat-tip to Melissa Boughton for parsing the maps:

There are 64 current district court judges double-bunked in nine judicial districts encompassing 15 counties in the “Option A” proposal. That’s 24 percent of all district court judges. “Double-bunking” for the purposes of this article means that there are a smaller number of seats in a judicial district than there are current sitting judges. That means incumbent judges in those areas would either be forced to run against another incumbent in an election or face losing their seat if their term expires after the seats are filled.

Of the 64 district court judges who are double-bunked, 47 are registered Democrats and 17 are registered Republicans. There are one percent fewer district court judges double-bunked in “Option A” than the last HB717 map Burr introduced in November. There are also fewer Black or African-American judges double-bunked in this map, but the number is still high considering representation is already an issue on the bench. There are 32 percent of Black or African American judges double-bunked in “Option A,” compared to 43 percent in the last map from Burr.

As you can see from that second paragraph, Justin Burr was well aware he was flirting heavily with a lawsuit that would likely result in his twisted maps being thrown out. So he toned it down a little. But the partisan and racist volume of this effort is still deafeningly loud. But it isn't just double-bunking these judges have to worry about; if the timing is right, they won't even be able to run for a seat:

For example, in Buncombe County district 39B, there are two seats allotted and three current sitting judges. Two of those judges are up for reelection this year, Julie Kepple and Ward Scott, and one is up for reelection in 2020, Andrea Dray. If Kepple and Scott are reelected this year, there won’t be another seat for Dray to run for reelection in 2020.

All of the same information from district court districts regarding residency and double-bunkings for the purposes of this article applies to the superior court districts.

Three of the districts in “Option A” would require incumbent judges to run against each other in an election – district 15B, Cumberland County, and district 18A, Durham County, in elections this year and district 19, Orange County, in an election in 2022. The other five districts have candidates who would face losing their seats because their terms expire after elections that would fill the allotted seats.

For example, in district 12C, there is only one seat in the “Option A” proposal and two current sitting judges, Jay Hockenbury, whose term expires this year and Phyllis Gorham, whose term expires in 2024. If Hockenbury were to run for reelection this year and win the only allotted seat in the “Option A” plan, it would mean Gorham’s seat would be eliminated in 2024.

You're right, it's complicated as hell. And there's a reason for that. It buries the sinister nature of the plan in excruciating details, that individually may seem reasonable, but in concert bring about the results Republicans would be hard-pressed to justify to the general public.

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