NC Supreme Court

Chief Justice Martin's avoidance of the term "exclusively"

If parts of the Constitution don't fit your argument, just forget they exist:

Entitled "State school fund," Article IX, Section 6 provides:
The proceeds of all lands that have been or hereafter may be granted by the United States to this State, and not otherwise appropriated by this State or the United States; all moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property belonging to the State for purposes of public education; the net proceeds of all sales of the swamp lands belonging to the State; and all other grants, gifts, and devises that have been or hereafter may be made to the State, and not otherwise appropriated by the State or by the terms of the grant, gift, or devise, shall be paid into the State Treasury and, together with so much of the revenue of the State as may be set apart for that purpose, shall be faithfully appropriated and used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools."

Bolding mine, in the hopes Mark Martin's attempt to erase the word won't stick. See if you can find that word in the numerous references he makes defending this decidedly un-constitutional siphoning off of public school resources:

GOP moves to delay Supreme Court review of redistricting

That's one way to preserve the supermajority you cleverly created:

The United States Supreme Court’s recent procedural action in these cases does not justify the schedule proposed by plaintiffs. While defendants agree that this Court’s further consideration of this case should proceed reasonably expeditiously, plaintiffs’ motion suggests a schedule that might apply if the United States Supreme Court had reversed this Court’s judgment on the merits and remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with its opinion. The United States Supreme Court took no such action and the schedule on remand should reflect that reality. This Court should set a reasonable timetable for further
briefing and oral argument. In setting such a timetable, defendants request that this Court take into account scheduling conflicts that impact counsel for all the parties as more fully explained below.

Wait a minute, I thought this was just a totally-anticipated procedural issue, with no substantive impact on NC's redistricting law:

Vacated.

The US Supreme Court rejected the NC Supreme Court's ruling upholding the NC General Assembly's racially-motivated redistricting scheme, and sent the case back to the lower Court for a second look. This doesn't mean the redistricting itself has been rejected, but it is a step in that direction. Film at eleven. Actually, they don't allow filming in the Supreme Court, which is why we see those all those fancy sketches. And I doubt if we'll know more by eleven...*sigh* You know what I'm talking about.

Tipping the scales: NC's Judiciary shaped by out-of-state money

The final frontier of unchecked power:

But the mandatory retirement of Sarah Parker, the chief justice from 2006 until the end of August, opened up a spot on the bench. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Associate Justice Mark Martin, a Republican, to fill the vacancy until the Nov. 4 elections. Robert N. Hunter Jr., a Republican who was on the N.C. Court of Appeals, was then named to serve in Martin’s seat until the election.

That shifted the balance in September to five Republicans and two Democrats. There have been few cases decided since then that reflect what that shift might mean for politically charged lawsuits.

There may have been only time for a "few" cases, but they've been instructive enough. The Supreme Court is gearing up to become much more involved in cases with a partisan nature, pre-empting the lower Court of Appeals when it will be advantageous to do so. That "pro-active" approach to the law does not bode well for those seeking Constitutional clarification or redress, nor does having justices owe allegiance to DC political heavyweights:

NC Supreme Court "snatches" Hofmann Forest case from CoA

But it's doubtful they're coming to the rescue of said forest:

In a surprising move, the N.C. Supreme Court decided Friday that it will hear the long-running and controversial Hofmann Forest case before the state Court of Appeals rules on it. The Supreme Court “snatch” -- in the words of Ron Sutherland, one of the case’s lead plaintiffs -- is but the latest twist in a long-running saga full of them.

The second theory is that the Supreme Court, which has a majority of conservative judges, simply wanted to decide the case instead of letting a more unpredictable appeals court make the ruling, which was due any day. “We hope that this is not the reason,” Sutherland said. “It would be a rather blatant act. But it’s hard to say exactly what the motivation might have been. If it’s this second theory that’s right, all we can do is encourage people to vote for good, honest judges who will look at this case fairly and make what we think is the right decision.”

I can tell you with about 90% accuracy what the motivation was: If the Supremes waited for the CoA's decision, like they usually do, the scope of their approach to the case and subsequent actions (rulings) would have been limited/dictated by the CoA's opinions. By pre-empting the CoA, the higher court can argue based on a smaller set of legal principles and precedent. In other words, they don't want the input of the CoA, and that usually only happens when somebody has already made up their mind. The life expectancy of Hofmann Forest just got a lot shorter.

GOP conquest of NC Supreme Court part of a larger intiative

Chopping away at the Judicial Branch:

The stakes in the political and ideological battle over choosing justices are high: State supreme courts review local courts’ criminal and civil verdicts and the constitutionality of state laws, and about 95 percent of all legal cases are filed in state courts, according to a 2008 report.

More than $3.1 million has been spent this year on television ads in elections already held in Tennessee, Idaho and Arkansas and in a May primary election bid to unseat a North Carolina justice, Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center reported earlier this month. Races in Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Montana, New Mexico and Texas will likely attract millions of political party and special-interest dollars, the groups said.

That number is on the low side, I would think. About half that much was spent here in North Carolina alone in an effort to get rid of Robin Hudson and have two Republicans run for her seat. Low estimates aside, voters should find this trend chilling, if they ponder what it represents: A concerted effort to preserve and protect unconstitutional government actions by Republican legislatures.

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