judicial independence

Watchdog or lapdog? New GOP court filings test the independence and legitimacy of the NC Supreme Court

BY: - January 24, 2023

There are many factors that go into building and sustaining a strong and healthy democracy: free, clean and transparently funded elections; inclusive suffrage; freedom of speech and association; an independent news media; predictable and reliable law enforcement; and an absence of widespread corruption. Oh, and at least one more: a strong and independent judiciary that prioritizes protecting citizen rights.

State judges across the U.S. face growing GOP pushback against rulings in election cases

BY: - February 17, 2022

In mid-December, Texas’ highest criminal court revoked the state attorney general’s ability to use his office to prosecute election-related cases without the request of a district or county attorney. In an 8-1 opinion, the all-Republican court weakened Attorney General Ken Paxton’s power to independently go after perpetrators of voter fraud, a problem he says is rampant but is actually exceedingly rare.


Damning new report: NC General Assembly is forcing state judges to “criminalize poverty”

BY: - November 8, 2018

A new report from the good people at the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund is shining new light on an important area in which the General Assembly has been doing its worst to attack and undermine the independence of the judiciary: the micromanagement of court fines and fees. The report is entitled “Forcing Judges to […]


Bipartisan legal commission: Legislature is threatening independence of state judiciary

BY: - December 20, 2017

This is just out from the good people at the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: Bipartisan commission on racial disparities calls for thoughtful deliberation on judicial redistricting Last week, a bipartisan group of North Carolina prosecutors, law enforcement, judges, defense attorneys, advocates, and academics released a resolution […]

Former GOP judge, justice question motive of measure to shorten judicial term limits

BY: - October 24, 2017

It’s been one week since lawmakers introduced a Constitutional amendment that would reduce all of North Carolina judges’ terms to two years and force them to run for reelection next year. It’s a proposal that has been met with bipartisan skepticism and criticism, especially from those who have actual first-hand knowledge of the courts. “This […]


Retired judges of both parties: North Carolinians must fight to preserve independent judiciary

BY: - August 30, 2017

As NC Policy Watch reporter Melissa Boughton has detailed at great length in recent months, conservative efforts to transform the North Carolina court system from an independent branch of government into one that is partisan and subservient to the Republican leadership of the General Assembly continue apace. From the demise of public financing for judicial […]