October 22, 2020
Equal justice for working people is on the ballot in North Carolina
The NC AFL-CIO is proud to endorse three candidates – Cheri Beasley, Mark Davis, and Lucy Inman – for the North Carolina Supreme Court and five candidates – Tricia Shields, Lora Cubbage, Gray Styers, Reuben Young, and Chris Brook – for the North Carolina Court of Appeals. These candidates are experienced and fair advocates and are committed to providing accessible and equitable courtrooms for North Carolina.
Judicial races receive far less attention than the higher-profile races that appear higher on the ballot, but North Carolina’s judicial branch makes decisions that affect the lives of our state’s workers and our state’s democracy. Last year, a state court in North Carolina halted efforts to retain partisan, gerrymandered districts–districts that perpetuated lopsided Republican control in the General Assembly. This was a crucial decision that led to redistricting across the state, narrowing the strong Republican advantage in the upcoming 2020 elections.
Court of Appeals
The North Carolina Court of Appeals provides an opportunity to review cases and ensure fair procedures in the trial courts. In these courts, 15 judges are divided into rotating panels of three to hear appeals. The North Carolina Court of Appeals has five seats up for election. The outcome of these races affects the lives of workers, families, and employers; it is crucial we cast our ballots for the right candidates this November.
Tricia Shields began her legal career clerking for Judge Hendricks. A graduate of UNC School of Law, she is an awarded and recognized trial and appellate lawyer. Throughout her career, she has believed that a Court of Appeals Judge must be a student of the law to make fair, impartial, and consistent decisions. She knows that the Court of Appeals is often the last option for parties and believes each case deserves individual attention.
Gray Styers is running against incumbent Republican Judge Chris Dillon. As a law professor and attorney, he has a strong respect for the rule of law and the role of judges in a civil society. A lifelong resident of North Carolina, Gray has also served on the boards of the North Carolina Museum of History and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle.
Judge Lora Cubbage has served as a Superior Court Judge since 2018. Judge Cubbage has had an extensive career in the courtroom, serving as Assistant District Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, and District Court Judge before her most recent position. She wants to preserve North Carolina’s diverse culture by being part of a government that reflects the citizens it serves.
Judge Reuben Young is fighting to keep his seat on the Court of Appeals. In his career, he has spent countless hours trying to improve safety in prisons and the rehabilitation of offenders. Last year, he was appointed by Governor Cooper, along with Judge Chris Brooks, to the Court of Appeals because of his unwavering commitment to serve the people of North Carolina.
Judge Chris Brook is also campaigning to stay in his seat on the Court of Appeals. Before being appointed by Governor Cooper to the position, he was the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where he challenged HB2, an infamous bill from the General Assembly targeting LGBTQ+ people and restricting local living wage ordinances.
The Supreme Court of North Carolina is the state’s highest court, and the final decision on state law and interpretation of the state constitution. It is of utmost importance that individual justices are impartial and fair minded. This year, two seats for associate justices are up for election, plus the critical role of chief justice.
We are endorsing Judge Mark Davis to keep his position as an associate justice on the state supreme court. In March of 2019, Governor Roy Cooper appointed Judge Davis to the court. Judge Davis previously worked in state government when Cooper was the state’s attorney general, serving as a deputy attorney general. He then went on to serve in the North Carolina Court of Appeals for nearly nine years.
Judge Lucy Inman is also vying for a seat on the state supreme court. She has been a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals since being elected statewide in 2014. Judge Inman practiced civil litigation for 18 years, where she worked for small business owners and victims of negligence, fraud, and sexual abuse. Judge Inman will strive to bring equal justice and respect to the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Lastly, we are proud to endorse Chief Justice Cheri Beasley to keep her seat for another eight years. Before becoming the first African-American woman chief justice in North Carolina, Beasley worked her entire career advocating for independent, fair, and accessible courts. If elected for another term, she will strive to build a state court system that solves legal disputes but also helps people better their lives.
This November, vote your full ballot to ensure that everyone in our courtrooms can be treated fairly and with respect.
Read our NC Labor 2020 Voter Guide for the full list of candidates endorsed by unions of working people: aflcionc.org/nc-labor-2020-voter-guide.