Bishop asks NC judges to split votes for postponement of 2022 election

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) – A congressman from North Carolina has filed a federal lawsuit demanding more transparency from state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals justices whose votes this month – these prompted the state to postpone its 2022 primary by 10 weeks.

The complaint by US Representative Dan Bishop, a Republican from the Charlotte area, announced Wednesday night and filed earlier today criticizes a series of private court rulings, arguing that three private votes go against “a tradition well established public access to votes. judges and individual judges in the decisions of these courts.


“It’s mind-boggling hypocrisy: Judges are demanding lawmakers draw cards, debate cards and vote on new cards in public,” Bishop said in a press release. “But they rule them in the deepest and darkest corners of the justice system. No matter which side you are on, every North Carolina has a right to this information and everyone should demand transparency from our judges. There is no reason for our courts to operate in secrecy. “

On December 6, a three-judge panel of the appeals court voted minutes before the filing of nominations began to suspend the filing of nominations for races in the United States House and the General Assembly of North Carolina. The court told state and local election officials not to start accepting candidates for those seats, prompting the state electoral council to turn away from Raleigh State Fairground from several candidates, including the U.S. representative. Alma Adams, a Democrat who traveled from Charlotte. to file their papers.

But later that night, “a majority vote” from the 15-person Court of Appeal overturned the panel’s decision and allowed applications to resume.

In both decisions, the judges used a lesser-known “conference” process where they are free to discuss the issues at stake in private and then announce a decision publicly without providing a tally of how the vote went. unrolled or the judge who voted in which direction.

On December 8, the state’s Supreme Court suspended the filing of nominations and ordered the 2022 primary elections to be postponed by 10 weeks from March 8 to May 17, as lower courts considered whether the legislative and congressional cards drawn by the GOP had been illegally drawn for purely partisan purposes. and dilute the voting power of racial minorities.

Bishop believes Democrats and Republicans should demand transparency for all three decisions and said he was particularly interested in hearing the vote from Jimmy Ervin, a Democratic state Supreme Court judge who applied before to vote perhaps soon after to stop the submission of nominations.

The High Court order did not disclose how each of the seven judges voted. The signature on the decision was illegible and appeared above the words “For the Court”.

In his lawsuit, Bishop notes that Amy Funderburk, clerk of the state Supreme Court, told him by email that Judge Tamara Barringer, a registered Republican, had signed the order to postpone the election. Bishop says neither Barringer nor any other Supreme Court employee responded to his request for a breakdown of how the seven justices voted.

Bishop, who accuses the High Court and the Court of Appeal of denying him his First Amendment rights, is also asking the courts to pay his attorney fees for the case.

“The interest protected by the First Amendment will not retain any significant value unless the denial of access is remedied almost immediately and in any event well in advance of the 2022 general election,” Bishop wrote in the lawsuit.

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Follow Anderson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BryanRAnderson.

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Anderson is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative Corps. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.

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