Archived Opinion

What to look for in a judge

What to look for in a judge

To the Editor:

Until 2018, judges in North Carolina had been non-partisan, after which the Republican legislature changed the law to require candidates for judges to declare party affiliation. Even though judges and justices are now partisan candidates, impartiality is still the cornerstone of their job.  

One way to understand impartiality is to look at their listing of endorsements and their written decisions. Are they endorsed by other judges or leaders from both parties? Do they show respect by listening? Do they write opinions that show they are following the law? Do they cite rulings and precedent? And, do they deliberate and apply the law equally?

In the case of the N.C. Supreme Court, it is important to recognize the candidate’s experience in lower courts. Have they served on Superior Court or the Appellate Court? In the best case, a Supreme Court justice should have experience in either or both of the lower courts.

On the N.C. Supreme Court, there are Republican justices that seem to vote as a partisan block. Since the last election, it has been noted that Republican justices have ruled as a unit and demonstrated a lack of independent thinking until they were called out on this by the Raleigh News and Observer last fall. Then, all of a sudden, they changed their tack and did not vote “in lock step” for one decision.

 Judges must be able to give assurance that justice is happening, not politics. 

Karen Hawk


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  • While they are supposed to be impartial, the behavior of judges marks what they are. The News and Observer is in no position to criticize anyone on a court, being highly leftist as they are. If the law is what mattered, then one would not need to worry about the judge being a leftist, as so many on the appellate levels are.

    Alas, the courts are corrupt and the law means less and less. politics has come be all that matters.

    posted by Quartermaster

    Thursday, 08/18/2022

  • I wonder how many politicians get elected just because they have a (R) or a (D) in front of their name...
    In these days where supreme court justices come pre-packaged from think-tank wishlists, this is an eye-rolling shoulder shrug.
    And to be fair to traditional conservatives, a Ron Swanson-type judge to just sit there and block laws, well, that's "the dream."

    posted by Don

    Thursday, 08/18/2022

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