On Friday, Democracy North Carolina, the NAACP and other groups challenging the 2011 redistricting plans filed a new motion with the NC Supreme Court to have Justice Paul Newby removed from hearing that challenge. As NC Policy Watch reports, “That’s because the . . . organization largely responsible for the drafting of the redistricting plans, the Republican State Leadership Committee, contributed more than a million dollars to support Newby during the waning days of the 2012 judicial elections to secure his re-election and his vote when the redistricting challenge reached the Supreme Court.”
RSLC is a national 527 committee that has received hundreds of thousands from Art Pope’s Variety Stores (Roses, Maxway, Super Dollar) since 2009. It’s the political committee that financed the national expert who used his computerized map-drawing skills to pack African Americans into a small number of NC legislative districts while making many other districts whiter and friendlier to Republicans. And it’s the committee that provided the lion’s share of money for all those banjo-picking ads to elect Paul Newby in 2012. As Policy Watch notes, Democracy NC and the other plaintiffs believe this “connection at the very least draws into question Newby’s ability to hear and decide the validity of the redistricting plans in a fair and impartial manner”
The motion spells out all the interrelated connections and makes it plain that the US Supreme Court ruled for recusal in a similar case involving a coal company baron financing a justice’s election in West Virginia. An earlier attempt to have Newby recused was quickly rejected by his colleagues on the NC Supreme Court. Now that the actual redistricting case is before the court, we’ll see what they and Newby do next.