In less than two months, Seats 8 and 9 on the North Carolina Court of Appeals will be on the ballot in the 2022 midterm elections. The N.C. Court of Appeals is the only intermediate appellate court in the state. It is the second-highest level court behind the N.C. Supreme Court.
N.C. Court of Appeals Seat 8
Democrat Carolyn Thompson is running against Republican Julee Flood for Seat 8. Both candidates were unopposed in their party’s primary election.
Lucy Inman currently holds the position, but her term is set to expire at the end of 2022. After serving on the N.C. Court of Appeals since 2015, Inman is running for the N.C. Supreme Court this year.
Thompson has over 26 years of legal experience as both an attorney and a judge. As an attorney, she worked with family law and issues related to mental health and elder abuse. In her judicial career, Thompson served as an N.C. District Court judge from 2009 to 2018. She then went on to be the first female judge appointed to the N.C. Superior Court in the Ninth Judicial District.
“There’s no way I could have just continued to listen to, ‘We’re in trouble, democracy is in trouble' and not get in the fight to help uphold our Constitution and our individual rights," Thompson said.
Thompson thinks transparency should be at the forefront of the court system. She said she will not advocate for a particular ideology or position and maintains the idea that “the role of the court is to remain independent.”
Flood believes experience and objectivity are crucial aspects of the position. She has extensive experience with the N.C. Court of Appeals as an attorney. She has worked with nine appellate judges and justices at both federal and state levels, four of whom were Democrats. She is currently working for Judge Jeffery K. Carpenter.
“I’ve written hundreds of judicial opinions so I am ready to serve North Carolinians from day one with experience that is highly relevant," Flood said.
Alongside the importance of experience, Flood thinks that having an unbiased, "apolitical" perspective of the law is vital.
Outside of her experience with the court, Flood has also taught at Elon University School of Law and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law and the College of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, as well as the Duke University Paralegal Program.
N.C. Court of Appeals Seat 9
Republican Chief Justice Donna Stroud is the incumbent candidate for Seat 9 running for reelection against Democrat Judge Brad Salmon who is currently an N.C. District Court Judge.
Stroud was elected to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 2006 and has held her position continuously for the past sixteen years. In January 2021, Stroud was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals.
During her time on the court, Stroud said she has written almost 1,300 opinions and has extensive experience as an appellate jurist. She prioritizes clarifying the law for North Carolinians.
“I would just ask people to judge me based upon my actual work and my experience over all of these years,” she said.
Salmon, Stroud’s Democratic opposition, is a District Court judge representing District 11, which includes Lee, Harnett and Johnston counties. He was appointed to the court by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2021. His campaign centers around the value of fair and impartial justice.
In 2015, Salmon was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives for District 51. He served for two years. He is also a founding partner of The Salmon Law Firm.
Salmon did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Tar Heel.
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