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Abortion, Voting Rights Groups Invest In North Carolina Supreme Court Race

Source: New York Times

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a group that fights for fair legislative maps, and Planned Parenthood Votes, the health care organization’s political arm, are teaming up to invest in state supreme court races in North Carolina as well as Arizona, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, and Texas. The groups plan to spend $5 million across the states to fund digital ads, canvassing operations, and get-out-the-vote efforts, they announced earlier this month.

“Our aim is to protect the independence of state supreme courts, to ensure that they are composed of justices who are dedicated to interpreting the law in a neutral way, who will adhere to precedent and who will protect the fundamental rights of all citizens,” former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in a statement announcing the joint venture.

Judicial elections in North Carolina were officially nonpartisan for much of this century, but after Republicans suffered election losses in 2016, Republican legislators passed a bill to switch judicial elections to partisan

The move helped Republicans take control of the Supreme Court in 2022, after which, in a blatant rejection of legal precedent, they promptly issued new rulings on decisions made mere months earlier when Democrats were in the majority. 

Now, after two U.S. Supreme Court cases have left states in charge of both redistricting and abortion rights, North Carolina’s Supreme Court race this fall, between incumbent Democrat Allison Riggs and Republican challenger Jefferson Griffin, is in the spotlight. 

In one particularly enlightening case for how Griffin, a North Carolina Court of Appeals judge, may rule while on the Supreme Court, Griffin concurred with an opinion that would have established the legal precedent of life beginning at conception in North Carolina, a position that would effectively prohibit all abortions as well as many forms of birth control and fertility treatments.

Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, underscored what’s at stake this fall. “We are in the fight of our lives to protect and restore our fundamental freedoms,” she said in a statement. “And our courts are the front lines.”

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