Pay attention, lawmakers, because this message is clear:
McCullough is one of three Republican members of the court approaching mandatory retirement. State law in North Carolina requires judges to retire at 72. McCullough, whose term does not expire until 2018, would have had to retire by May 28. McCullough’s letter to Cooper was brief.
In it he said, “it is my firm belief that it is appropriate that I retire now rather than wait approximately thirty-six more days I would be required to retire by operation of the law.” In an interview, McCullough said he retired several weeks early because he did not want his legacy to be an “impairment to the appeals court” by reducing its size.
Get that? Judge McCullough is retiring anyway, so he wouldn’t have to suffer from cases piling up under only four 3-judge panels. And he knew good and well his replacement would be a Democrat. Those things did not matter. Protecting the viability and integrity of the NC Court of Appeals is the only thing that mattered to him, and every single GOP Legislator needs to keep that in mind when the Veto override vote gets called. Just because you can do a thing, it doesn’t automatically follow that you should. Also, hat-tip to Roy Cooper for choosing John Arrowood. Because quality and equality in one capable package.