State courts have a profound impact on the everyday lives of Americans. According to Business Insider, “an estimated 96% of all legal cases in the United States are filed in state courts and fall to the more than 30,000 state judges and 344 state supreme court judges around the country.” State judges are “the chief architects of the legal landscape in each state.”
State jurists have exerted their power and have ruled on a variety of important issues over recent months. In North Carolina, Republican Chief Justice Paul Newby took the unprecedented step of replacing a superior court judge with a Republican judge on a crucial education funding case.
Democrats currently hold a majority on North Carolina’s Supreme Court. This year, there are two seats up for election and the result could shift or flip the partisan balance of the court.
The NC Supreme Court has successfully reigned in partisan power grabs by legislative Republicans. Recently, the court struck down congressional maps for being gerrymandered in favor of Republicans.
According to a 2021 poll, approximately 74% of North Carolina voters support efforts by the courts to ensure maps are fair and constitutional. In the same poll, 72% said that state courts should be aggressive in limiting gerrymandering.