Under the Dome

Speculation season begins following justice's departure

Outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue will appoint a replacement for departing N.C. Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, whose resignation was confirmed Wednesday, The N&O's Andrew Curliss reports.

As with any high-profile opening, the news has set off rounds of chatter in political and legal circles on who will get the coveted appointment.

If Perdue selects from the courts system, then other appointments would follow. Perdue will likely get advice from an 18-member commission she created to help with judicial appointments.

There is one downside to being chosen: Whoever it is will have to stand for election in 2014 to keep the position.

Perdue has not commented, but much of the chatter focuses on Timmons-Goodson's status as the only African-American on the highest court.

Perdue has "tried to move women and minorities forward in state government and it would cut against the grain for her to do otherwise," said Bob Orr, a former state Supreme Court justice now in private practive.

Some names being mentioned:

  • Cheri Beasley, who was elected to the state Court of Appeals in 2008. Like Timmons-Goodson, she is an African-American female. Beasley's name has come up repeatedly as a possible choice.
  • Sam Ervin IV, a member of the state Court of Appeals who was just defeated in a close race this year for a Supreme Court seat against incumbent Paul Newby.
  • Wanda Bryant, also an African-American female and a member of the state Court of Appeals. She just ran for election and won an eight-year term, leading to talk that she would not want to face another election in two years.
  • Cressie Thigpen, who was just defeated for re-election to the state Court of Appeals. Perdue had appointed him to that post in 2011 to replace Barbara Jackson, who had won a seat on the Supreme Court.
  • Reuben Young, who is Perdue's Department of Public Safety secretary. He has no judicial experience, and most mentions of him concern backfilling a slot that opens as a result of the Supreme Court choice.
  • Mark Davis, Perdue's legal counsel. He has worked in private practice, at the Attorney General's office and was a federal judicial clerk in the early 1990s.
  • Anita Earls, the executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and was a civil rights attorney in the Clinton administration. A big downside: She has been involved in the redistricting lawsuit and would have to recuse from any decision in that closely watched case that is making its way through the courts.
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Pretty poor list

This is a pretty poor list to choose from.  Just think how much damage Reuben Young could do on the Supreme Court.

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