NC Supreme Court justice threatened with sanctions after calling out racism and sexism
In contrast to its deep red neighbor South Carolina, North Carolina is more of a swing state. North Carolina has a moderate two-term Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, but President Joe Biden lost the state to former President Donald Trump by about 1 percent in 2020.
North Carolina Democrats are often frustrated by the state's Republicans, including those who would like to sanction State Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls.
Earls, the only African-American woman on the Court, has been openly critical of fellow justices where race and gender are concerned. And the conservative-leaning North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission has been investigating her comments as possible violations of North Carolina's Code of Judicial Conduct. On Tuesday, August 29, Earls filed a lawsuit against the Commission.
Popular Information's Judd Legum reports that the Commission is probing comments Earls made during an interview published by Law 360 on June 20. During the interview, she called for more Blacks and more women to make arguments before the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Legum explains, "Earls noted that none of the Court's clerks, a feeder for high-level attorneys who later appear before the Court, were Black. She also attributed the racial and gender discrepancies among oral advocates to 'implicit bias'…. Earls observed that, during oral arguments, she is 'interrupted by more junior colleagues' and sometimes even by attorneys, which 'doesn't happen to my male colleagues.'"
Earls' lawsuit argues that she shouldn't be sanctioned for expressing her views on racism or sexism.
The lawsuit states that the "1st Amendment allows Justice Earls to use her right to free speech to bring to light imperfections and unfairness in the judicial system. At the same time, the 1st Amendment prohibits the Commission from investigating and punishing her for doing so."
Read Popular Information's full report at this link.
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