Republicans blast rumors of court expansion as fake news

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
Protestors worried about an expansion of the N.C. Supreme Court pack the rotunda of the Legislative Building after the opening of a special session of the General Assembly in Raleigh

RALEIGH — Hundreds of protesters lined the halls and gallery of the N.C. House and Senate Tuesday after rumors circulated on Facebook that the General Assembly was considering adding two seats to the N.C. Supreme Court. The state Constitution gives the body the authority to do that, and there were rumors on social media that they might consider it after Democrat Judge Mike Morgan beat incumbent Republican Bob Edmunds for his seat on the state high court. “The only ones saying we might do that are Democrats. It’s much ado about absolutely nothing,” said one Republican lawmaker who did not want to be named, but said that the groups are spreading “fake news.”The demonstrators, organized by NAACP, Equality Now and Progress NC, sat in multitudes holding signs that said “Got ethics?” and “Don’t stack the courts.” They chanted “What do you want? Justice!” In an email Tuesday, N.C. GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse blasted the rumor and the media for reporting it. “As a former news reporter, I am embarrassed by how the press fell hook, line and sinker for a court expansion crisis that was speculated by Democrats, rumored by Democrats, and fed by Democrats,” said Woodhouse. “Some of the otherwise reputable news organizations have added to this rumor mill — with no evidence, no written bill, no Republican endorsement, and no off-the-record background comments that it was possibly coming. The unfair and unrealistic notion that it is our job to answer every hair-brained, paranoid scheme that the Democrats dream up, again without any proof, evidence, or confirmation, is absolutely ridiculous.”Woodhouse went on to challenge media going forward, as the special session to address the Disaster Recovery Act is expected to continue through the rest of the week.”If any of your stories read that ‘Republicans back off court expansion,’ you will further be lying to your readers because you will have accused us of doing something that we were never doing, and by default or purpose, then credit these far-left outfits with stopping something that was never going to happen,” he said.