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Senate judiciary leader urges Cooper to maintain court’s partisan balance

Carolina Journal reports on Senator Daniel’s urge for Governor Cooper to keep the current partisan makeup of the court by filling vacancies with Republicans until the people can vote in 2020:

Citing Gov. Roy Cooper’s own words about government “balance,” a leading N.C. senator is calling on the governor to elevate a Republican to serve as the next chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.

Sen. Warren Daniel, R-Burke, also hopes Cooper will name another Republican to fill a judicial vacancy that takes effect at the end of February. In a news release, Daniel, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged the governor to take the court’s current partisan makeup into account as he decides how to address a court vacancy. That vacancy is linked to current Chief Justice Mark Martin’s pending resignation on Feb. 28.

“Gov. Cooper’s partisan allegiance should not take precedence over the will of the people who voted for the makeup as it currently is,” Daniel said in a prepared statement. “The makeup of the state Supreme Court, as decided by the voters, should continue to reflect the balance that Governor Cooper often discusses. For Gov. Cooper to give Democrats an extreme supermajority on the court would contradict his previous statement that ‘partisan politics has no place on the judges’ bench.’

“That is why I urge Gov. Cooper to follow the longstanding tradition and appoint current Senior Associate Justice Paul Newby to the vacant chief justice position, and then appoint a Republican associate justice to keep the same partisan makeup of the court until the people have a chance to vote in 2020.”

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