Anita Earls, a North Carolina Supreme Court Justice, filed a federal lawsuit against the state's judicial standards commission. She alleged that her right to freedom of speech had been violated stemming from an investigation launched by the commission into Earl's public comments about the court system's lack of diversity.
In a June interview with Law360, Justice Earls highlighted the underrepresentation of racial diversity among North Carolina Supreme Court law clerks. She also mentioned witnessing instances of "implicit bias" in court. These comments led to an investigation by the commission into whether her remarks violated ethics rules.
Earls, the only Black female Supreme Court justice in North Carolina, contends that the commission's actions are intended to suppress her ability to critique the court, particularly on matters of diversity. She maintains that the First Amendment protects her right to free speech and the exposure of imperfections and injustices within the political and judicial systems.
The Judicial Standards Commission typically investigates a small percentage of the complaints it receives based on the legitimacy and credibility of the claims. This investigation marks the second investigation against Earls. A previous complaint over an anonymous tipster accusing her of disclosing confidential court matters was dismissed.
Link: The Guardian