S.B. 656 becomes law: No 2018 judicial primary

RALEIGH —The N.C. General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 656 and made it law to among other things eliminates judicial primary elections next year. Republicans argue that this provides more time to examine and implement House Bill 717, which redraws all judicial and prosecutorial districts.

Minority Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake) tried to ascertain why the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals races were included in SB656 since those judgeships aren’t affected by HB717.

The House voted 72-40 to override the veto. Two Democrats voted with Republicans and four Republicans voted with Democrats. The Senate voted 26-15 to override the veto with two Republicans voting “no.” Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg) was the only lawmaker who voiced his opposition to SB656 on the Senate floor.

Cooper responded to the veto override a short time later.

“The legislature is angry that their bad laws continue to be overturned by the courts, and their solution to abolish a scheduled election and once again take away voters’ rights is wrong,” he wrote in an email. “This is the first step toward a constitutional amendment that will rig the system by moving to partisan, legislative selection of judges. Allowing legislators to pick their own judges for political reasons is a bad idea.”