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NC Supreme Court Issues Order Bringing Transparency to the Judicial Recusal Process

December 23, 2021

North Carolina Supreme Court Issues Order Bringing Transparency to the Process Used to Assess Judicial Conflicts of Interest 


Chapel Hill, N.C. -The North Carolina NAACP, represented by attorneys from the Southern Environmental Law Center and Forward Justice, issued the following statement in response to the Court’s Order of December 23rd which was released today regarding a new transparent system for determining motions for judicial recusal and disqualification. In response to a previous request from the Court, the North Carolina NAACP has submitted multiple briefs to the Court requesting the Court to adopt transparent rules on this topic, and has been supported by amicus briefs from judicial ethics experts, law professors, and other interested parties from throughout the country. 

“The North Carolina NAACP, along with its attorneys from the Southern Environmental Law Center and Forward Justice are pleased to see the North Carolina Supreme Court take an important step towards adopting clear and transparent rules to determine motions for judicial disqualification and recusal. The court’s order of December 23rd brings much-needed transparency to a previously opaque process for the first time in history. Litigants and the public now know both how decisions about judicial conflict are made and by whom. Importantly, Justices now have a clear pathway to allow the full court to make decisions about their potential impartiality, and will be able to remove themselves when necessary from a decision-making process that can be fraught with implicit bias in order to preserve a fair tribunal for those seeking justice from North Carolina’s highest court. 

The NC NAACP, Forward Justice, and the Southern Environmental Law Center have been honored to submit briefing to the court as it considered this important issue. We are now eager to press on with the merits of our underlying case and look forward to the opportunity to present argument to the court explaining why the North Carolina General Assembly cannot rely on votes from illegally racially gerrymandered districts to amend our state constitution.”