Members of the North Carolina legislature are responding to the charge levied by the state chapter of the NAACP and several other groups that North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby should not be allowed to stay on the lawsuit challenging political districts of favoring Republican politicians, reports the Associated Press.
Lawyers for GOP state House Speaker Tom Tillis, Senate leader Phil Berger and others looking to keep Newby on the case argue that the money given the Newby’s campaign by Republican committees and political action committees shouldn’t cast doubt on Newby’s fairness.
Thomas Farr and Phillip Strach, attorneys working with Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office to defend the districts, argue that the recusal standards urged by those calling for Newby’s removal are “unworkable.” If implemented, they would require “each member of the court to research whether every party or attorney who appears before them had ever expended money on his or her behalf during a previous campaign or contributed money to an independent expenditure committee that did.”
In the November election, Republican affiliated groups and super PACs spent $2.3 million on television ads supporting Newby and attacking his opponent, Appeals Court Judge Sam J. Ervin IV (see Gavel Grab).
According to the Associated Press, around $1.2 million of that came from the Washington-based Republican State Leadership Committee, which gave “direct technical assistance to the North Carolina Republicans who drafted the legislative maps at issue.”
For more on the recusal issue, see Gavel Grab.