• 59°

Potential judicial reform and redistricting causes concern in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — A “silent march” protesting proposed judicial redistricting and changes to the way judges are seated was held in Charlotte on Thursday.

The march was a collaboration among Citizens in Action NC, Democracy North Carolina, North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections, the North Carolina NAACP, Progress North Carolina, and the League of Women Voters Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

It was held a week before a special session of the General Assembly.

The proposed redistricting could cut Mecklenburg County into nine judicial districts. Lawmakers have also proposed a merit-based selection system for judges.

Protesters said the changes would move control of judicial choices into the hands of lawmakers rather than voters.

Some 42 people participated in the march, despite late-morning temperatures that hovered around 30 degrees.

Gail Young, director of Citizens in Action NC, said the march was an effort to speak out about legislators trying to “stack the deck in their favor.”

“We’re here today because we’re frustrated with what the General Assembly is trying to do to the judiciary system in North Carolina,” Young said. “… We’re trying to keep from having the death of democracy here in North Carolina.”

Protesters walked two by two from Romare Bearden Park to the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, where a news conference was held at noon.

Delores Hurt, president of the League of Women Voters Charlotte-Mecklenburg, called the proposed legislation “the General Assembly’s attack on an independent judiciary.”

“The goal is not to improve the condition of the judiciary of the state, but … (to) destroy the pillar of the separation of powers we have long cherished in this country,” said Hurt.

Both Hurt and Young said the proposed changes are in response to recent rulings that blocked illegal actions and laws that would have hindered minority voters. Young said lawmakers are trying to rig the system in their favor.

“It’s kind of like ‘We can’t win the game, so let’s hire all the referees in our favor,'” said Young.

 

Other speakers at the news conference included retired District Court Judge Jane Harper; former District Judge Nancy Norelli and Corine Mack of the North Carolina NAACP; Jade X. Jackson, a Charlotte leader with the Rev. William Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign; and state Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-37.

Whether or not the General Assembly will address judicial redistricting in the special session that starts next Wednesday remains uncertain.

House Speaker Tim Moore said redistricting should take precedence over judicial reform and should be handled in the House on Wednesday.

The maps need to be settled upon before filing, which is slated for June after February primaries were canceled last October.

In contrast, Senate leader, Phil Berger, said that there is too much work to be done on redistricting maps for them to be considered next week.

 

Comments

Coronavirus

Brown, Williamson shed interim titles at Hurley, Corriher-Lipe

Coronavirus

During pandemic, some first responders see changes in call volumes, types

Crime

Salisbury police respond to five drug overdoses in three days

Local

April issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Coronavirus

East Spencer town board to consider curfew during COVID-19 pandemic

Crime

Blotter: Man cited for trespassing, larceny at meat processing plant

Local

Post makes changes to ensure continued print publication

High School

High school basketball: McCain moves on after 5 seasons at South

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 case count increases to 22

Business

US Census: County’s population grew by 960 people from 2018 to 2019

Local

Political notebook: Hudson, Budd supported emergency coronavirus relief bill

News

Spirit of Rowan: Duke recycling unit at Buck Steam Station to repurpose 400,000 tons of ash a year

News

Spirit of Rowan: West Rowan EMS station will repurpose another part of old school

Local

Spirit of Rowan: Chewy bringing big business of online retail to Rowan’s doorstep

News

Spirit of Rowan: Cannon Ballers stadium anchors downtown Kannapolis

News

Spirit of Rowan: New hotels, overnight lodging contribute to economy

News

Spirit of Rowan: Railwalk Pavilion to be downtown’s new dynamic hub

Local

Spirit of Rowan: School’s media center finds new life as public library

News

Spirit of Rowan: 132 Flats sets precedent for new downtown apartment development

News

Spirit: New Bell Tower Green takes shape downtown

Local

Spirit of Rowan: Salisbury has ‘hit the metrics’ for new retailers

News

Spirit of Rowan: Rowan Little League builds a softball dynasty here

Local

Spirit of Rowan: Wallace Cancer Institute will provide services under one roof

Ask Us

Ask Us: What is the status of the empty lot at the corner of E. Innes and Lee Streets?