Justice Cheri Beasley was formally sworn in as chief justice of the state Supreme Court at a ceremony Thursday afternoon. Beasley, having served in North Carolina courts for 20 years, over six of which on the Supreme Court, is the first Black woman in North Carolina history to be Chief Justice.
Gov. Roy Cooper named Beasley as the next chief justice in February after former Chief Justice Mark Martin announced his departure in January. Beasley will stay in her role until at least 2020, when she will go on the ballot to potentially win another eight-year term.
“The other thing that's really exciting about folks reaching out for today is I think people understand that if this is indeed the right time, and I'm the right person, that it really does offer all of us a lot of hope and promise for North Carolina,” Beasley said at her swearing-in ceremony.
Beasley’s appointment was not without contest — Justice Paul Newby, a member of the court since 2004, criticized Cooper’s decision in a statement on Twitter.
“Sadly, today Governor Cooper decided to place raw partisan politics over a non-partisan judiciary by refusing to honor the time-tested tradition of naming the Senior Associate Justice as Chief Justice,” Newby said. “The Governor's decision further erodes public trust and confidence in a fair judiciary, free from partisan manipulation.”