Governor Perdue announced 18 appointments to the new, supposedly non-partisan, Judicial Nominating Commission yesterday. The Judicial Nominating Commission will be responsible for providing a list of three possible replacements to the Governor for any vaccancies on the N.C. Supreme Court, the N.C. Court of Appeals and Superior Court.
Shockingly, Perdue’s non-partisan appointments were anything but, and included a host of Democratic Party activists and other friends of the Governor. Two of the members have served as legal counsel for the Governor. Others according to the News & Observer have a long history of ties to the N.C. Democratic Party:
The commission chairman is Edwin Speas, a Raleigh attorney who was the governor’s general counsel for two years. Also on the panel is Joe Cheshire, a prominent Raleigh defense attorney, who represented Perdue during a criminal investigation into possible campaign spending violations.
A number of the appointees have strong Democratic ties, including Cumberland County Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler; former U.S. Attorney Janice Cole of Hertford; former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt; former state Rep. Judy Hunt of Blowing Rock; Tom Lambeth, former executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; former Chief Justice Burley Mitchell; and Raleigh lawyer Robert Zaytoun.
That Governor Perdue would so blatantly pack a supposedly non-partisan commission though shameful is hardly surprising. It is just another example of the insider, you pat my back I’ll pat yours mentality that has occupied the Governor’s mansion throughout the Perdue and Easley administrations.