North Carolina Supreme Court - Wikipedia
The NC Supreme Court is the state's highest court and there is no further appeal in the state from their decisions. This court has a chief justice and six associate. The midterm election for North Carolina Supreme Court is a Republican seat Democrats think they can flip. Meet the candidates they're only a small part of what the court does — such as handling appeals in cases. North Carolina's race for the NC Supreme Court has made a lot of headlines this year. Meet the three candidates.
What are the biggest changes you think North Carolina needs to make to its judicial system? North Carolinians deserve an independent court where the rules are the same for every North Carolinian, not just political insiders or those with great wealth and power.
We are at a critical moment where our basic civil rights and values are being threatened. Politicians and powerful corporate special interests are trying to influence and politicize our courts to stay in power.
I am running for one simple reason — so that our judicial system lives up to the basic promise of equal justice under the law and to protect the rights of every North Carolinian. I served on the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission because I believe that the biggest changes North Carolina needs to make to its judicial system is to improve access to civil justice for all citizens.
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Currently many people cannot afford legal representation to meet basic legal needs, which impacts their access to housing, employment, education, and family security. With regard to our criminal justice system, eliminating racial disparities, promoting demonstrated programs that divert youth and young adults from the criminal justice system, and restoring adequate funding to the indigent defense services are just a few of the changes that North Carolina needs to make.
How do you define injustice? I know what it means to a family and to a community when the judicial system fails to live up to the promise etched in stone above the entrance to the US Supreme Court — the promise of Equal Justice Under Law. My passion for justice comes from my experience growing up in a mixed-race family. My father is black and my mother is white. When they met and fell in love in Missouri, it was illegal for them to be married. But my family persevered despite the odds against us and taught me the values of hard work in the face of adversity.
I know personally what it is to demand justice and experience the devastation when it is denied. Twelve years ago my brother was murdered in a rural area of Washington State. He had served 10 years in the Army and earned the honor of being buried in a military cemetery. After the rifles were fired in salute at his funeral, I stood before my family and promised to fight for justice.
But I was ultimately unsuccessful. I was given two reasons why the local authorities would not prosecute the person who murdered my brother. One reason was that this was a rural area and murder prosecutions are expensive. The second reason I was given was that no jury in that county would convict a white woman of killing a black man.
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After this experience, I struggled to find how I could continue to be a civil rights attorney and believe in the notion that the courts are an avenue to obtain equal justice.
Ultimately, I realized that I just had to work harder to find justice for everyone in this world. That the only way to honor my brother and my family was to continue to represent clients whose rights have been violated and to continue to seek justice.
The touchstone of my voting rights work has been an effort to guarantee that everyone has the right to vote and that every vote counts equally. North Carolinians deserve to have a fair and independent court that upholds the rule of law and protects all North Carolinians no matter their race, gender or how much money they have in their pockets. Justice should not be reserved only for those with power and influence.
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How will you work to ensure equal access to justice for all? I have seen how members of the Supreme Court in North Carolina, and in other states, have taken appropriate steps to improve the administration of justice by highlighting reforms that increase access to justice in civil courts and by supporting initiatives, such as the Actual Innocence Commission, that have brought justice to persons wrongly convicted in criminal courts.
I will work to bring light to the ways in which our system currently does not ensure equal access to justice for all and to be part of solutions that move us closer to that goal.
I believe that ensuring equal access to justice also requires maintaining an independent judiciary without undue and inappropriate influence by powerful special interests in the legislature or by wealthy corporate interests.
Judicial Branch ; Roster of North Carolina's State Supreme Court Justices The Supreme Court of North Carolina is a seven-member tribunal occupying the apex of the state's General Court of Justice and possessing appellate jurisdiction to review the decisions of lower courts and administrative boards within the executive branch of state government.
Acting on a bill introduced by William Gaston of New Bern, the General Assembly in November created the separate supreme court contemplated by the Constitution ofwhich empowered the legislature to appoint "Judges of the Supreme Courts of Law and Equity" and "Judges of Admiralty.
The first meeting of the court took place on 1 Jan. The governor, with the assistance and advice of the Council of Statetemporarily filled vacancies on the supreme court until the end of the next session of the General Assembly.
The legislature's creation of an independent appellate judiciary ran counter to the reforming democratic spirit of Jacksonian North Carolina.
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The judges' right to "hold office during good behavior," a virtual guarantee of life tenure, angered reformers who regarded the court as an elitist institution too far removed from the people.
The growing population of the western counties, naturally given to criticizing an unresponsive, distant state government dominated by eastern planters, protested the long journeys their lawyers had to undertake to argue cases from the overburdened western circuits before the supreme court. To their voices were added those of superior court judges, who resented being reversed on appeal.
Throughout the s regular attacks were leveled at the North Carolina Supreme Court by legislators who believed that the chief justice and the two judges should be elected by popular vote. The election to the bench of former superior court judge and State Bank of North Carolina president Thomas Ruffin effectively ensured the supreme court's survival, as he single-handedly transformed the common law of the state into an instrument of economic change.
Ruffin's writings on the issue of eminent domain-the right of the state to seize private property for the public good-paved the way for the expansion of railroads into North Carolina, enabling the state to embrace the Industrial Revolution.
Ruffin's opinions on various subjects were cited as persuasive authority by appellate tribunals nationwide. The supreme court survived the Civil Warduring which its docket was greatly diminished under the leadership of Chief Justice Richmond Pearson. Four major reforms befell the court as a result of North Carolina's adoption of a new constitution in First, in an extensive revision of the judicial article, the court became a "constitutional" tribunal that owed its existence to the fundamental law of the state rather than to legislative enactment.
Second, the number of judges was increased from three to five, with the chief justice retaining his title and his brethren receiving the appellation "associate justices.