‘North Carolina is a test case, y’all.’ Judge joins rally against changes to courts

A former North Carolina Supreme Court justice joined a crowd of people across the street from the state Legislative Building on Wednesday to speak out against changes lawmakers have proposed for how judges across the state make it to the bench.

Lawmakers opened a special session Wednesday with no clear signs that judicial reform proposals would be on their agenda.

But the protesters were lingering in the halls of the Legislative Building to be ready for any surprises.

At the Fair Courts Day of Action, the groups gathered to draw attention to a number of reforms proposed by lawmakers, including new election lines for judicial candidates seeking District Court and Superior Court seats, abandoning elections for an appointment process that would give the General Assembly a key role or creating an election system in which judges have to run for office every two years.

Timmons-Goodson, a Democrat, also worked as a district court judge in North Carolina for 11 years before serving an eight-year stint on the state Court of Appeals. President Barack Obama nominated her for a seat on the federal bench in the Eastern District of North Carolina, but Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican from Winston-Salem, never put forward the paperwork necessary to put her name before the Senate for consideration.

 As a longtime member of the judiciary at many levels, Timmons-Goodson said the courts in this state and country were built on a foundation of independence so they could provide checks on the executive and legislative branches of government.

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