OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Two Missouri Supreme Court justices will be retiring this year, giving Republicans the opportunity to replace them. Justices Patricia Breckenridge and George Draper will be retiring this fall.
Republicans have a slight 4-3 majority on the Missouri Supreme Court, but the court is typically “split” on most votes. Breckenridge is a Republican and Draper is a Democrat. This will give Republicans the opportunity to keep Breckenridge’s seat “red” and add another conservative judge to the bench.
“Both Breckenridge and Draper are nearing their 70th birthdays, and the Missouri Constitution requires judges to retire by age 70 or they automatically forfeit their pensions. Former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt appointed Breckenridge to the high court in 2007, and former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon picked Draper for the court in 2011,” CT Post reported.
“In Missouri, a special panel of lawyers, governor-chosen citizens, and the chief justice recommend three candidates to fill Supreme Court vacancies. The governor picks from those three candidates. These will be Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s second and third Supreme Court appointments since he took office in 2018. He appointed Judge Robin Ransom to the court in 2021,” the outlet added.
Separately, North Carolina’s Supreme Court made headlines this week with a slew of announcements about crucial cases.
Republicans have a 5-2 majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court and they have decided to take on two major cases as the 2024 presidential election looms. The state’s highest court will rehear two recently decided cases on gerrymandering and voting rights, suggesting the justices may be open to overturning them altogether.
“The decision to rehear the cases — which found a voter ID law discriminated against voters of color and reaffirmed the court’s decision to redraw election maps — comes just about a month and a half after they were handed down by an outgoing Democratic majority. Harper v. Hall, the gerrymandering case, determined that state Republicans gerrymandered maps to produce a partisan advantage in the state’s congressional delegation and in the state House,” The Daily Tar Heel reported.
“The petition for rehearing the case argued that the Democrat-majority court made serious errors on law, including its decision that the General Assembly did not have complete oversight in elections protocol, and said that legislators should be “able to exercise its redistricting power unencumbered” by courts and judicial review,” the outlet added.
“The Harper experiment has failed, and it is time for this Court to recognize that, correct its errors, and return to the Constitution and this State’s traditional modes of interpretation,” the petition read.
In the gerrymandering case, Republicans could potentially pick up four more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives if North Carolina’s state Supreme Court delivers a ruling in its favor.
The state’s highest court will hear a challenge to the state’s congressional map and the outcome could be very beneficial to the GOP.
“The current map, which was installed after the state Supreme Court struck down a legislature-passed map, could lead to the Republicans picking up as many as four House seats in 2024. The state Supreme Court now holds a conservative majority after elections last fall, and the court recently agreed to revisit its prior decision,” the Washington Examiner reported.
“North Carolina’s 14 House seats are currently evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, but the previously enacted map, struck down by the court, would have likely set up the GOP with as many as 11 seats. One expert told Reuters it would not be a surprise if the old map was reinstated instead of an entirely new map being formulated. Early projections for the 2024 House races from the Cook Political Report show the GOP with an advantage, with the likely installation of new Republican-friendly maps in North Carolina and Ohio playing a role in the early projection. Republicans currently hold a narrow 221-212 majority in the House of Representatives after taking back control of the chamber in 2022 despite underperforming in most key races nationwide,” the outlet added.