NONPARTISAN CANDIDATE GUIDE: 2018 NORTH CAROLINA SUPREME COURT RACE
The election for the North Carolina Supreme Court is between the incumbent, Justice Barbara Jackson (R), Anita Earls (D) and Chris Anglin (R). The race could change the political balance of the Court. Democrats currently hold a 4-3 majority on the 7-member court. If Earls unseats Justice Jackson, Democrats would strengthen their control of the court. The North Carolina Supreme Court makes the final decisions on questions of state law and can have a major impact on North Carolina policy. The Court has recently decided major cases like who determines state election and lobbying laws and whether the state’s congressional districts were created with racial bias. Further evidence this seat matters: 2018 fundraising has already exceeded that of the 2016 race.
- Barbara Jackson is currently a Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court, elected to the position in 2010.
- Before serving as a Justice, she was a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, counsel to the North Carolina Department of Labor and a disabilities advocate.
- In Cooper v. Berger, Justice Jackson dissented, arguing that the Republican-led North Carolina legislature could curtail the power of the Democratic Governor to appoint members to the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.
- In Heart v. State, Jackson voted with the majority of the court that a program that uses state funding to send low-income children to private schools is constitutional.
- In 2014, Justice Jackson voted with the majority of the North Carolina Supreme Court to uphold North Carolina’s congressional districts against claims that the districts were drawn with a racial bias to increase Republican chances of victory. The United States Supreme Court later ruled that the districts were unconstitutionally drawn with racial bias.
- Anita Earls is the former Founder and Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), a large North Carolina civil rights organization that advocates for those affected by poverty.
- Before that, Earls was as a civil rights and voting rights attorney. Earls formerly worked in the United States Justice Department under President Clinton.
- Earls was a lead attorney in the suit that resulted in the US Supreme Court ruling that North Carolina’s congressional districts were unconstitutionally drawn with racial bias.
- SCSJ supported the effort to change North Carolina’s laws so that 16 and 117-year-oldswouldn’t automatically be charged as adults in the NC criminal justice system.
- SCSJ also supported efforts to encourage business to hire more people with criminal records and to shift questions about criminal records to later in the interviewing process.
- Chris Anglin is an attorney in Raleigh. His practice focuses mostly on personal injury cases like car accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and slip and fall cases.
- Until recently, he was registered as a Democrat. North Carolina GOP leaders have accused him of running as a Republican to siphon votes away from Justice Jackson.
- Anglin says he is running as a constitutional Republican to “stand up for the independence of the judiciary” in North Carolina against the GOP-controlled legislature.