Gov. Roy Cooper has named his two replacements to the Court of Appeals, and they are not the middle-of-the-road independent judges you might expect for a governor needing to win over moderates in the near future.
Pick No. 1 is Chris Brook, legal director for the state chapter of the ACLU, which has waged numerous battles against the Republican legislative majority.
Pick No. 2 is Reuben Young, currently a senior member of the Cooper administration in the corrections division.
These two seats were open because of the musical chairs in the judicial branch of government. Judge Mark Davis was elevated to the state Supreme Court after Cooper picked Cheri Beasley for the chief justice spot. She got the nod when Justice Mark Martin decided to leave for academia.
The second vacancy came when Judge Bob Hunter, a Republican, reached retirement age.
All these judges in new positions will have to run for full 8-year terms in November 2020, and you can bet that both parties will devote a lot of time and money to getting their people on the bench.
The Justice Building in downtown Raleigh, home of the N.C. Supreme Court. Photo by the North Carolina Judicial Branch via Facebook.