In 2012, a North Carolina super PAC had made its way into the race between Paul Newby, a sitting conservative justice, and Sam J. Ervin IV as they vied for a spot on the state's Supreme Court. The super PAC's influence was perfectly legal - the U.S. Supreme Court made it so in Citizens United. Still, the news was troubling. Political money was influencing a race that should be nonpartisan.
Now, spending from outside North Carolina is influencing the state's judicial races. The New York Times just wrote about an ad against Justice Robin Hudson, who's running for re-election, that claimed she had "sided with the predators" - i.e., child molesters - in a dissent. The ad had been paid for not by Hudson's opponents but "by a group that had just received $650,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee in Washington, which pools donations from corporations and individuals to promote conservatives in state politics and is now broadening its scope to target judicial races." The committee recently launched a multi-million dollar campaign aimed to "educate" voters of a judicial candidate's political leanings.
Last year, North Carolina legislators repealed a 2002 decision from a then-Democratic controlled General Assembly that established public financing in judicial races. The 2002 decision also mandated the races be nonpartisan.
Read the Times' story here.