The North Carolina Supreme Court has seven members, with two seats up for election. This race is between Republican Judge Richard Dietz and Judge Lucy Inman, a Democrat. We’ve covered the race between Republican Trey Allen and incumbent Democrat Justice Sam Ervin in another guide. Justices serve eight-year terms.
The outcome of this election will determine what party controls the Court. The Democratic justices have a narrow 4-3 majority. Both open seats are held by Democrats, so Republicans only need to win one race to gain control of the Court.
The North Carolina Supreme Court can have a significant impact on state policy and individual rights. Just this year, the Court held that a legislature elected based on racially manipulated districts cannot propose amendments to the North Carolina constitution, issued a decision eliminating protection from legal liability for nurses acting pursuant to a doctor’s instruction, and created a mandatory parole review for prisoners sentenced as juveniles who have subsequently served 40 years in prison. The Court will also soon decide whether the state’s voter ID law is unconstitutional and whether individuals convicted of a felony can be prevented from voting.
To help you decide, we’ve assembled background about the candidates’ education and previous work experience, along with rulings they’ve made as sitting judges, public statements, and publicized endorsements, to indicate how they might rule on key issues in the future.
For more information about the race, see this article about the candidates’ “core beliefs,” and these descriptions of the candidates.
Judge Richard Dietz currently serves as a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, a position he has held since 2014. Previously, Dietz was a partner at the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, working as an appellate litigator.Dietz holds a degree in business from Shippensburg University, a law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law, and a master’s degree in judicial studies from Duke University.
Judge Lucy Inman currently serves as a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, a position she has held since 2014. Previously, Inman served as a special North Carolina Superior Court judge, after working as a civil litigator in private practice.Inman holds a degree in English from N.C. State University and a law degree from the University of North Carolina.
Dietz has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #9 and the North Carolina Values Coalition, which supports the values of “life, family, and religious freedom.”
Inman has been endorsed by EqualityNC, an LGBT+ rights organization, the NC Sierra Club, the North Carolina state AFL-CIO, and the National Association of Social Workers-NC.
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