Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby is a good example of what’s become of the GOP and what’s happening to our judicial races. Maybe Newby has always been petty and snide, but it’s the influence of Donald Trump that’s made his attitude a political asset instead of a political liability. If he’s setting the example for how judges running for office should behave, we’re in a downward spiral.
Last week, Newby, who is the only Republican on the Supreme Court, insulted all of his fellow justices. He called the North Carolina Supreme Court “the most dangerous branch of government” because of “AOC’s (a reference to US Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez) on the Supreme Court.” Rob Schofield of Policy Watch has good synopsis of the episode and why it harms the court.
Newby, though, is a reflection of the new political era we’re entering because of Donald Trump and the GOP’s embrace of low-brow tactics. Name-calling, once considered childish and immature, is now standard political drivel even for Supreme Court candidates. Trump’s leading us toward lowest common denominator politics and Democrats are struggling to decide whether to fight on that level or try to maintain some level of decorum, even if it’ll be ridiculed as elitist by the populists who’ve take over the GOP.
Maybe Newby’s an exception, but if he is, Republicans need to call him out. He’s clearly a petty little man who shouldn’t be near the court. When Democratic Governor Roy Cooper passed him over for Chief Justice and appointed Cheri Beasley, the state’s first African-American woman to hold the position, Newby whined that Cooper had chosen partisan politics over tradition. However, tradition holds that the governor appoint someone of his own party to the position.
Now, given Newby’s slur of his colleagues, we know who really embraces the “raw partisan politics” he supposedly deplores. He’s a product of the modern GOP. After years of non-partisan elections of judges, the GOP made the races partisan at a time when Donald Trump is showing his party that the path to victory is through insults, slurs and name-calling. Newby’s embracing the new politics of the right portends an even uglier fight for the court in 2020.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >