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The Senator Said Earls “Shouldn’t Hear the Leandro Case”

A state lawmaker from Alamance County is criticizing Justice Anita Earls of the North Carolina Supreme Court for choosing to participate in the most recent round of the protracted Leandro school financing litigation.

Sen. Amy Galey, a Republican who sits on the Senate’s education committee and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, declared that Justice Earls “had no business hearing this case before the Supreme Court.”

She didn’t just say that North Carolinians’ votes don’t matter if the outcome doesn’t match her political beliefs.

She now believes that it is acceptable for a lawyer who took part in a case to serve as an appellate judge conducting an “impartial assessment” of the same case. Because of her prior involvement, Justice Earls is unable to rule impartially and equitably.


Galey responded to Earls’ Friday announcement that the application for her recusal from the Leandro case had been denied. In a 4-3 judgment in N.C. NAACP v. Moore, the state Supreme Court issued its ruling on the same day.

A trial court will be able to decide whether two state constitutional amendments that were adopted by the voters of the state can be repealed thanks to Earls’ judgment. In addition to lowering the state’s income tax ceiling, the amendments are intended to guarantee picture identification for voters in North Carolina.

In a partisan effort to deprive North Carolinians of their constitutional right to voter ID, she all but tossed out millions of valid votes in just a few hours, according to a news release from the state Senate Republicans.

By allying with the same party she formerly represented, she is now on the verge of entirely destroying the separation of powers.

In the Leandro case in 2005, Earls represented plaintiffs who were interfering. Later on, she submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in favour of the plaintiffs.

In his Friday letter, Earls stated, “I conclude that there are no reasons for me to be excluded from hearing and considering the questions submitted.

“The action in which I did appear seventeen years ago as one of the numerous attorneys representing intervenors was separated from the primary case and is not at issue in this appeal,” she penned.

“I submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the civil rights group I was in charge of ten years ago,” Earls continued.

“Just as a jurist’s prior career as a prosecutor is not understood to impair their ability to preside impartially in cases involving the State or defendants prosecuted by their office, it would be a disservice to the judiciary and to the people of North Carolina to conclude that my prior career as a civil rights attorney precludes me from acting impartially in cases involving civil rights issues.”

Justice Phil Berger Jr. wrote his own ruling outlining his determination to hear the case on the same day that Earls denied recusal in Leandro.

Hoke County Board of Education v. State is the full name of the 1994 case involving Leandro. The case has already been the subject of significant opinions from the California Supreme Court in 1997 and 2004.

Justices will determine in the current case whether a trial judge can direct the state to spend an additional $785 million on educational-related expenses. All of those things are connected to the complete remedial plan, which was approved by the court.

That strategy was prepared as part of a multiyear, multibillion-dollar proposal by WestEd, a consultant with offices in San Francisco, for the trial court.

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In addition to the expenditure, the justices will determine whether a trial judge can direct other state government representatives to withdraw the $785 million from the state treasury without consulting the General Assembly. The compulsory money transfer is resisted by legislative leaders and the state controller’s office.

August 31 is the date set for oral arguments. A scheduling order states that a decision will be made by Berger, Earls, and the other justices at a later time “to be determined in the Court’s discretion.”

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