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Republicans take 5-2 majority in North Carolina Supreme Court

NC Supreme Court
NC Supreme Court Official Website
After Tuesday's election, the North Carolina Supreme Court will now be comprised of five Republicans and two Democrats.

For the first time since 2016, Republicans now have a majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Two seats were up for grabs this year, and Republicans won both, taking a 5-2 advantage on the state's highest court. Before the election, Democrats held a 4-3 majority on the court.

Richard Dietz, a North Carolina Court of Appeals judge, will replace retiring Associate Justice Robin Hudson, a Democrat who has served on the panel since 2007. Dietz defeated Lucy Inman, a Democratic Court of Appeals judge.

Trey Allen, who serves as General Counsel for the state Administrative Office of the Courts, defeated incumbent Democratic Associate Justice Sam Ervin IV.

The court is now comprised of five Republicans and two Democrats. The victories will give the party a majority for several years, as the next two seats up for reelection are also held by Democrats.

All Supreme Court candidates ran on a similar platform: a vow to keep their personal politics from interfering with their rulings.

Over the next few years, the court is likely to weigh in on topics including redistricting and abortion. Abortions are legal in the Tar Heel state until 20 weeks of pregnancy, as of an Aug. 17 federal court ruling, with narrow exceptions for medical emergencies that threaten the life of the pregnant person. North Carolina remains one of the few abortion access points in the Southeast as its neighboring states slash abortion protections. Republican legislative leaders have said they plan to consider further abortion restrictions in 2023.

A GOP-controlled court may open the door for Republicans to draw a more politically beneficial congressional map after this election cycle and create a new avenue to weaken Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s policy initiatives.

Celeste Gracia covers the environment for WUNC. She has been at the station since September 2019 and started off as morning producer.
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