SPECIAL: ELECTION ENDORSEMENTS
I like to keep www.NCTrialLAwBlog.com as politics free as possible, but with the upcoming elections in North Carolina, I get emails and requests from my friends asking "who should I vote for?" Of course, that is always an individual choice, but let's face it, unless you are a lawyer in NC, you probably don't have much information regarding the qualifications of Judges.
Non-Partisan Elections? Sort of..
In theory, the election of Judges in North Carolina is non-partisan. That means that when you look at your ballot, you won't be seeing any "D"'s or "R"'s next to the names of the candidates. Whether this is a good or bad idea is a moot point, that's the way it is. In a perfect world, the party affiliation of a Judge would give you some clue to that person's judicial temperment, but the reality is that in some areas of this state, you can not get elected if you are the best candidate because of the party you happen to be at that time in US politics.
Of course, the political parties in our state, and many of the candidates themselves, make it quite clear where the candidates stand. One candidate proudly proclaims "Conservative" on his signs. I personally think that a candidate to a court should not declare their position on an issue before they hear the case. But that's just me.
Unfortunately, most "average" voters don't have enough information to be able to look beyond party afilliation for their guidance on candidates.
WARNING: Political Tricks Being Played
A lawyer friend of mine went for early voting in Chapel Hill this week. As he approached the poll, a young woman asked him, "Are you a Democrat?" He told her he was a Democrat. She responded by saying, "Good, here's a list of our candidates for the judicial races." She handed him a list of all of the REPUBLICAN candidates. The list did not have party affiliation listed. My friend confronted her deceptive practice and she played dumb and basically ran away. She came back just in time to get caught by a local reporter for a radio station who covered the story. You can read the story in the News & Observer Here.
Lesson: unless the paper you are handed actually states the party affiliation, be wary.
(Edit: Lesson part 2: This is not to suggest that each party will not have accusations like this leveled against them. I don't care if that young lady was passing out MY candidate list, it's misleading and wrong.)
Below you will find my endorsements, which are also the same endorsements as the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers. My criteria for selection includes the following factors: experience, judicial temperment, belief in fair compensationion for injuries caused by another's negligence, preservation of individual liberties, preservation of the right to a fair jury trial, and overall balance of the court.
I hope you will read about each candidate and make an informed decision. I want to point out that Justice Mark Martin is a registered Republican but has cross-party support for his moderate views over 14 years on the bench. His opponent is a person who ran as a Republican, changed her party, ran as a Democrat, and is completely unqualified in my opinion. Her website is bordering on the lunatic (or even over the border) and is another good reason to not simply vote on party affiliation alone.
The appellate judicial races are crucial if we are to ensure we have courts that will protect people's rights. Please encourage your family and friends to vote, and remind them to turn the ballot over for judicial races. Also, you may wish to send them this handy judicial voter card, which they can take into the voting area with them. Finally, you can check out the Board of Elections' Nonpartisan Judicial Voter Guide online.
The Academy and I have endorsed the following candidates in the appellate judicial races:
Remember to Vote, Tuesday, November 7th!
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