NC Supreme Court Races Could Decide The Fate Of Election Laws, Reproductive Rights

Two contests for the state Supreme Court could decide everything from how elections are administered to reproductive rights for North Carolinians. 

Court of Appeals Judge Lucy Inman, a Democrat, is seeking the open seat previously occupied by Justice Robin Hudson. Inman will face fellow Court of Appeals Judge Richard Dietz, a Republican. Both candidates have extensive legal careers on the Court of Appeals.

 Justice Sam J. Ervin, a Democrat, is running for re-election and will face Republican Trey Allen in the fall. According to the News & Observer, Allen “has no judicial experience, but works closely with Republican Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby, who won his seat in 2020.”

According to WRAL, in a series of forums, candidates have been making their case to voters as to why they are the best candidate to serve on the high court in a heightened political climate.

Justice Ervin emphasized his record of service as a fair and impartial judge and pointed to his most recent endorsements as evidence of this. Ervin was recently endorsed by two competing legal organizations which often face each other in court. Ervin said, “both of them have endorsed me because I think they believe they are confident that I will give their clients a fair and impartial hearing based on the record that I’ve got.”

Judge Inman said she is prepared to work collaboratively with the other justices on the bench, working across party lines. Inman said, “I am prepared to collaborate but also to honestly discuss differences and to help make decisions that find common ground narrowly rather than making radical change so we can have the stability that our democracy requires of our Supreme Court.”

This November’s election will determine which political party holds the court’s majority for several years. The United State Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has created a renewed focus on state supreme courts who would be charged with determining the constitutionality of any new abortion restrictions.

According to the News & Observer, “political cases are nothing new for the high court.” Over the last few years with a Republican majority in the state legislature and a Democratic governor, the court has “often stepped in to officiate power struggles between those branches — in addition to dealing with other political cases on issues ranging from voting rights to taxpayer funding for both public and private schools.”

The winners of this fall’s elections will decide the fate of these issues and more.

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