The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

October 3, 2012

Do party affiliations matter?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 — RALEIGH — Sometimes it is better to listen to the known partisans and take with a grain of salt the utterances of those staid, impartial folks in their robes of black.

One of those partisans, former state Republican Party chairman Tom Fetzer, recently told WRAL-TV that the motives of the North Carolina legislature were pretty clear when it decided to begin holding judicial elections without attaching party labels to candidates’ names.

Fetzer said one the reasons was because “Republicans started winning appellate court seats”.

He was being nice. It was the chief reason.

North Carolinians saw Republicans as being tougher on crime, and the party affiliation listed beside a candidate’s name had become the overwhelming criteria by which voters were selecting appellate court candidates.

A Democratic legislature wasn’t happy with the result.

Of course, taking away the party label on the election ballot doesn’t mean that party activists and contributors aren’t aware of the candidates’ party affiliation.

They have never been more aware of it than this year, when a single seat up for grabs on the state Supreme Court could swing the court from Republican to Democratic control.

Incumbent Justice Paul Newby faces Sam Ervin IV, a state Court of Appeals judge and the grandson of U.S. Senator Sam Ervin Jr. of Watergate fame. Newby just happens to be a Republican; Ervin just happens to be a Democrat.

To hear the two talk, those party affiliations don’t matter.

Newby recently told a group that the race is about qualifications and questioned why Democrats would want to run someone against an incumbent who has bipartisan support. His comments were a bit different, a week earlier, when appearing before a partisan crowd alongside a Republican candidate for governor.

That Republican candidate for governor, Pat McCrory, made no bones about the desire to keep the court in GOP hands as he urged the crowd to vote for Newby.

Ervin also spoke about being neither a Republican nor a Democratic judge. Just set aside his family’s long Democratic pedigree and that he was appointed by Democratic governors to the state Utility Commission.

It is worth pointing out that most cases that come before the state Supreme Court have little to do with partisan politics. Typically, the issues considered aren’t obviously conservative and liberal, Republ-ican and Democratic. The decisions don’t often come down along partisan lines.

And neither Newby nor Ervin carry Scalia-type reputations for being partisans.

Nonetheless, the money pouring into the race is and will continue to look partisan.

Fetzer is heading up an independent group, N.C. Judicial Coalition, that is backing Newby and likely getting its money from the usual deep-pocketed, Republican suspects.

So far, no Democratic-connected shadow campaign has claimed Ervin, but there is still time.

Finally, there is a little case before the Supreme Court that does have a partisan bent, and it has the attention of traditional donors.

It’s the case that will determine whether legislative districts that provide advantage to Republicans will stand.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    WASHINGTON - The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • D.G. Martin Where did all these new voters in North Carolina come from?

    “Voters born elsewhere make up nearly half of N.C. electorate.”
    So begins the latest DataNet report from the UNC Program on Public Life, directed by former journalist Ferrel Guillory.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon Some light for Dems in their time of darkness

    RALEIGH – Earlier this year, state Sen. Ben Clark, a Hoke County Democrat, became a hero for a day among his party and environmentalists when his amendment to require more well water testing near future fracking sites passed the Senate. It even gained the support of a number of GOP senators, against the wishes of the Republican bill sponsor.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Maintaining hope

    Gardeners are facing challenges with the weather this year. It seemed like we were getting great conditions in April and May. The weather was warm and we were getting some good rains. Then sometime in June the rain stopped. It got so dry that I didn’t have to cut the grass. While I enjoyed the break, the garden was not happy at all. I was having to water quite a bit to keep the vegetable garden alive and growing.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd I may be a bit behind the times, but at least I can find ‘America’

    I seem to be reading about and dealing with technology a lot lately.
    I  love technology and have always been fascinated by gadgets of all kinds and the wonderful things they can do. You never seem to go through an entire day without some form of invention enhancing your life.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Meeting out in open helps negotiations move ahead

    RALEIGH – State lawmakers reconvened in Raleigh on May 14 promising a brief legislative session this summer, but as July moves along they are still in town and tackling big issues.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Larry's Sketch 7.16.14.tif They don’t give a darn for Duke University

    John “Duke” Wayne’s heirs are suing Duke University over trademark rights.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    WASHINGTON - For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content