Not just pruning back the branch, they're trying to break it off:
Republicans haven’t hidden their displeasure with what they call judicial activism. Last February, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore lashed out at three state judges who sided with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper in a dispute over his appointment powers. “If these three men want to make laws, they should hang up their robes and run for a legislative seat,” the duo said in a statement.
“They have firebombed the courthouses across the state, creating chaos, and I think it’s all to gain partisan advantage,” says State Representative Marcia Morey, a Democrat who spent almost two decades as a judge. “They have not liked case decisions, and they need to get friendly judges in there.”
And once again, I can't help but see parallels between what the NC GOP is doing, and what authoritarian regimes in other countries do. They purge hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of experienced judges and replace them with unqualified political hacks, so there's nobody left to question their undemocratic behavior. Republicans have been whittling away at NC's judiciary since they took over in 2011, but it looks like 2018 may be when they try to deliver their merciless version of a coup de grâce: