Leftist NC Supreme Court Justice Files Lawsuit Complaining Her 'Free Speech' Is Being Trampled

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

North Carolina’s Constitution was amended in 2018 requiring voter ID. In 2021, a divided three-judge panel found SB 824 codifying that photo-ID requirement, discriminatory. The state’s Supreme Court had a Democrat majority at the time, and it agreed, permanently enjoining that law. Similar laws exist in several states and black voters have voted in record numbers. But data isn’t important when agendas are at stake.


After that decision, North Carolina voted in a majority of conservative justices, and the court flipped from a majority of Democrats to a 5-2 majority of conservatives. Former “Civil Rights Attorney” Anita Earls remained as one of two Democrats on North Carolina’s highest court. That newly comprised court reconsidered the law and reversed the prior Supreme Court decision. Earls didn’t like that. She joined her Democrat colleague in dissent. 

In the subsequent year and a half, Earls has made it her mission to step back into her “civil rights attorney” shoes and complain about her colleagues on the Supreme Court. 

In June 2023 Earls was interviewed by Law360. In the interview, she claimed status as the only “Black woman on the court” and she discussed decisions, particularly the court ending a commission purportedly examining “fairness and equity” in the court system. She also complained about a “lack of minority judicial clerks on the court”. 

Earls added:

 “I really do think implicit bias is at play," she said. "There have been cases where I have felt very uncomfortable on the bench because I feel like my colleagues are unfairly cutting off a female advocate,” she claimed, adding that they were also "cutting off a lawyer who is black.” 


Instead of bringing this up in private, Earls decided to air it in public. She has also complained in closed-door Bar Association meetings about a plan to do away with North Carolina's "automatic appeal" process. If a judge on a lower court of appeal dissents, the case is automatically sent to the Supreme Court. 

North Carolina has a complaint process regarding judicial ethics. A complaint was filed against Earls and identified her public attacks on her colleagues as unethical. One complaint about Earls was dismissed. This new one concerns her Law360 comments. Earls, apparently, doesn’t like the process so she filed a federal lawsuit claiming her comments are constitutionally protected “free speech." Her federal complaint also claims that her job prospects are damaged by the complaint process. The complaint reads, in part:

“Any discipline from the Commission has the potential to derail Justice Earls from seeking or being considered for any future professional opportunities, which causes her considerable stress and anxiety,” 

Implying that her conservative colleagues are racists with nefarious intent might not be the best look or a congenial tactic for a Supreme Court Justice in respect to ethics, but it would most certainly enhance her gravitas for the left. Earls ran, specifically because Trump said he would end the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship. “Orange Man bad”, so Earls ran and won her seat.


 Her 8-year term runs through 2026.  

Earls was reportedly on the shortlist for consideration for the U.S. Supreme Court. Her resume made her a candidate. Earls is a woman, and she identifies as black. Those two characteristics were all Biden guaranteed he would need.  Kantji Brown Jackson was tapped. Perhaps Earls's ethics complaint will move her into consideration for the next vacancy if Democrats get another shot. 

In any event, filing a Federal Lawsuit seems to be designed as a resume builder, not a career killer. 


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