Judge candidates question need for partisanship

Democratic judicial candidates are unified in their concern about having to run for seats on the bench under partisan labels. They outlined their reservations about the system at a meet-the-public event for Democratic judicial candidates June 13 in Lillington.

In North Carolina, judicial candidates have had to declare party affiliations since the GOP-controlled legislature mandated it in 2018. Before that, judges had been nonpartisan since 2004.

The change doesn’t sit well with candidates today.

“Facts and the law are all that matter, not partisanship,” noted NC Supreme Court Justice Sam Ervin IV.

Judge Lucy Inman of the Court of appeals, who is running for NC Supreme Court, echoed Ervin’s concern. She said partisanship turns judges into politicians and feeds the public’s misconception that political leanings play a part in judicial decisions. And that’s not true. Judges need to be impartial, she said, and not bend to ideology or political winds.

“Courts have to be above the fray,” added Brad Salmon, a District Court judge  running for the 15-seat Court of Appeals along with fellow Democrats Carolyn Thompson, Darren Jackson and Gale Adams.

Richard supported the judges’ view on partisanship and said he would work to eliminate partisanship upon becoming a member of the NC Senate.

Richard discussing judicial races with NC Supreme Court Justice Sam Irvin IV.