On matters of state law, there is no higher court than the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Its main role is to rule on questions of law that have arisen in the state’s lower courts, for instance, whether a trial introduced an error or included an incorrect interpretation of the law. The Court is made up of one chief justice and six associate justices.
In 2016, when North Carolina voters replaced an incumbent Republican governor with Democrat Roy Cooper, the Republican majority in the legislature immediately set about limiting his authority. One result is the return to partisan elections for North Carolina judges.
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, North Carolina State Supreme Court
“The work of improving justice is never truly done. Justice is not an achievement. It is a practice. As we change and grow as a society, our understanding of justice changes and grows and expands. And our courts must do the same.”
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D), the first Black chief justice in North Carolina’s history, was appointed to the seat by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2019. This year she is running for a full term.
Her opponent, Associate Justice Paul Newby (R), holds particular animus towards Beasley as he had seniority, but Governor Cooper skipped over him. Justice Newby recruited and formed a consortium of other GOP judicial candidates running under the mantle of “Conservative Judges.” And his campaign has help from outside North Carolina as the Republican State Leadership Committee has targeted this high court race.
Even so, Chief Justice Beasley has broad support, raising $550,000 from contributions of $100 or less in just one month. As the head of the Court system, the chief justice leads more than 6,500 elected officials and employees in over 100 of court facilities. Beasley was the first chief justice in the US to address Covid-19, reducing case volume while allowing the courts to address the most pressing issues.
Moreover, Beasley was the first chief justice to speak about racial disparity in our justice system. She told the Bolch Judicial Institute, “All of us as judges should see ourselves as leaders of the judicial branch of government. We run our courts every single day. And I think we have to think differently about racial disparities and see that we really do have a direct responsibility to address them. . . . But not just race, but really the history of race in our legal system. And I think acknowledging that will really allow us to think differently—to really expound upon our own experiences and share them—and really offer a greater opportunity to allow greater confidence in the way we apply the rule of law in our courts.”
Chief Justice Beasley believes that open discussion of personal experiences among judges helps them to have a greater understanding of individuals who come before them. Her other actions to slow mass incarceration and disparate judicial outcomes include championing restorative justice and creating successful pilot programs reforming cash bail and fine policies. She’s partnered with the Faith and Justice Alliance to provide legal services to underserved populations. And she’s expanded strategies to end the juvenile detention-to-prison pipeline. Going forward, the chief justice pledges to make North Carolina’s rule of law fairer for everyone.
VOTE for Chief Justice Cheri Beasley!
Other Progressive Democratic Judges on the Ballot
Elevate Judge Lucy Inman from the Appellate Court to the NC Supreme Court, Seat 2: Website
Re-elect Justice Mark Davis, NC Supreme Court, Seat 4: Website
Elect Tricia Shields to NC Court of Appeals, Seat 4: Website
Elevate Judge Lora Christine Cubbage to NC Court of Appeals, Seat 5: Website
Elect Gary Styers to NC Court of Appeals, Seat 6: Website
Re-Elect Judge Reuben F Young to NC Court of Appeals, Seat 7: Website
Re-Elect Judge Chris Brook to NC Court of Appeals, Seat 13: Website
To read more about the importance of electing progressive judges, read here.
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