Parker’s Picks For Statewide Judicial RacesBy
I’ve lived in North Carolina my entire life and I am convinced it is the best state in the Union. The more I travel, the more I realize how true that is. I consider myself a John Edwards populist (the I’m-really-worried-about-the-lower-middle-class type, not the oops-I-impregnated-my-secretary type). I was appalled at the failure of the Democratic Party to push the best choice for one of the Court of Appeals seats (Leto Copley), leaving us with the possibility of a 29-year old who drinks the Tea. With two judges leaving the bench after the primary this year’s Buncombe County ballot will be extra confusing for voters, so we all need to pitch in to help educate people.
You can offer your own choices in the comments section of the voter guide. And please offer your choices for the District Court races, which I do not cover in this post.
Pay attention to the state wide Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Candidates if you are at all concerned with how a different majority might affect the decisions being made in Raleigh.
This IndWeek guide was one of the sources I used to “pick three” judge recommendations to replace Judge Wynn.
The most important vote you cast this November may be for a Judge
Any given day in North Carolina, our Court of Appeals and Supreme Court make decisions that affect our families, jobs, and property. More recently they’ve heard cases on:
Same sex adoption
Environmental regulations and enforcement
Foreclosure and Subprime Loans
State challenges to national healthcare program
Why are these races so much harder to understand and explain than regular races? Here’s your quick and dirty rundown of STATEWIDE judicial elections in North Carolina, so you can impress your friends then take them to vote:
Judicial Elections in North Carolina are nonpartisan. This means straight ticket voting doesn’t cast you vote for judges. Without a handy political shorthand for your kindred spirits, you need to do your research.
Judges on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are elected to 8 year terms and have no term limits. Legal decisions are much more difficult to change than legislation. That’s a lot of bad law that can be made by a few judges for a long time.
Court of Appeals has 15 judges who hear cases in 3 judge panels and hear appeals except in death penalty cases.
The Supreme Court consists of 6 justices and 1 chief justice and can only be appealed to the US Supreme Court.
So, my egalitarian brothers and sisters, here are my suggestions for the judicial elections:
Supreme Court – Bob Hunter is a Western North Carolina native who authored over 700 opinions while on the Court of Appeals.
Court of Appeals Geer Seat – Martha Geer is the incumbent and prior to serving on the court she litigated cases in all court levels, state and federal, including the Supreme Court.
Court of Appeal Calabria seat – Jane Gray is a Wake County District Court Judge who also worked for the Department of Justice.
Court of Appeals Wynn seat – Hold on, this one’s confusing. Justice Wynn left his seat in August to serve on the federal courts. Because the timing allowed no primary there are a whopping 13 people on the ballot for his seat. Voters will get to rank their top 3 choices and if no candidate gets 50% the state uses a rare system called instant run-off. These are the candidates (progressive candidates for your consideration have a * and are listed first):
Hammer, Stanley (D)*
Middleton, Anne (D)*
Thigpen, Cressie (D)*
Bloss, John (U)
Casteen, John Wesley (U)
Dillon, Robert Christpopher (R)
Farlow, Jewel Ann (U)
Garner, Daniel (R)
Klass, Mark (D)
Mccullough, John Douglas (R)
Payne, Harry (D)
Sullivan, John (D)
Vesper, Pamela (U)
And if your eyes haven’t glazed over yet…
Court of Appeals Elmore seat – The nonpartisan primary and voter apathy left us no progressives in this race. So the lesser evil is the incumbent (Elmore) who has substantial legal experience and represented indigent clients throughout his career. His opponent is very conservative and has never represented a client or tried a case in court since he graduated from law school 5 years ago.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my picks. Get out there and vote!