North Carolina Republican legislators unhappy that trial judges keep striking down laws they passed now want the rules of the game changed for future litigation. Democrats say their GOP colleagues are just sore losers in court.
A provision deep within the state Senate budget approved over the weekend requires three-judge panels to decide lawsuits in which plaintiffs seek laws of the General Assembly declared inherently unconstitutional. Any appeals would go directly to the state Supreme Court.
Republicans say the panels would promote fairness and discourage plaintiffs from filing in counties where they think they can locate a sympathetic judge.
The three-judge concept follows from a 2003 law creating similar panels in redistricting litigation. At the time, Democrats praised the concept and Republicans cried foul.