By Rob Schofield, NC POLICY WATCH
It would be nice if GOP legislative leaders would follow suit
As was detailed at some length in this morning’s edition of the Weekly Briefing, Dallas Woodhouse, a longtime conservative political operative, former executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, and current “investigative political analyst” for the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal news outlet, has been promoting the idea that state GOP lawmakers are seriously considering impeachment of two members of the state Supreme Court — Democrats Anita Earls and Sam Ervin IV.
Republicans have asked both justices to recuse themselves from participating in the redistricting lawsuit that will come before the court next week (in which civil rights and good government groups are challenging the absurdly gerrymandered legislative and congressional maps that the GOP lawmakers passed late last year) on the specious grounds that the justices have conflicts of interest. Rumors have abounded in Raleigh in recent days that if the justices did not recuse themselves, GOP lawmakers might even undertake a preemptive impeachment in an effort to assure that they do not participate in the court’s consideration of the case.
Such an eventuality would, of course, constitute an unprecedented, provocative, and deeply dangerous act that could precipitate what can only be described as a constitutional emergency.
Now, thankfully, Woodhouse is walking back his claim. Earlier this afternoon he posted multiple tweets disavowing the possibility that such impeachment proceedings are in the offing, including this one:
Of course, the individual in the best position to put such an outrageous possibility completely to rest is the person who presides over the legislative body with the power to pursue impeachment — House Speaker Tim Moore.
Three-plus years ago when Woodhouse similarly and irresponsibly floated the impeachment of justices rumor over another dispute wending its way through the courts, a Moore spokesperson refused to reject the idea out of hand — saying only that House leaders had held “no discussions” of such a possibility.
The bottom line: Maybe it was all a “tail wagging the dog” rumor concocted by Woodhouse and some of his fire-breathing, right-wing pals, but as anyone with their ear to the ground in the capital city in recent days can attest, a lot of smart and serious people have been deeply and rightfully concerned that the threat was genuine.
Speaker Moore would do a great service to the state about which he professes to care so deeply by stating publicly and plainly that the story is bogus.