Two out of the seven seats on the North Carolina Supreme Court are up for election this November.
Democrat Robin Hudson, has served as a judge on the court since 2007, but she will not run for reelection this year as she would meet the state’s mandatory retirement age of 72 in her next term if she were to be reelected.
Democrat Lucy Inman and Republican Richard Dietz are competing for Hudson’s seat.
The other seat belongs to Democrat Sam Ervin IV, an associate justice on the court since 2014. He is now running for reelection against Republican Trey Allen.
N.C. Supreme Court Seat 3
From a young age, Dietz said he has aspired to work in law.
He was the first in his family to attend college and graduated first in his class at Wake Forest Law. In 2014, Dietz was elected to the N.C. Court of Appeals.
“In my eight years on the Court of Appeals, I’ve distinguished myself by writing thoughtful opinions that are concise and easy for the public to read and understand,” Dietz said in an email.
Running as a Republican, Dietz said he wants to emphasize the leadership he will bring to the state Supreme Court. He said this includes competent skills as a justice, collaborative character for important legal issues and a drive to improve the justice system beyond the courtroom. He also said he prides himself on leaving all political missions out of his work.
“I’ve made the theme of my campaign, ‘Leadership, not politics',” Dietz said.
Inman grew up in Raleigh and majored in English at N.C. State. After graduating, she became a reporter. She said as she covered the court system, she became inspired to attend law school herself.
After finishing law school at UNC, she worked as a law clerk for former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Exum.
She was elected to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 2014, the same year as Dietz. Inman said the law must remain accessible to people from all walks of life.
“I’m running to make sure that our state’s court of last resort continues to follow the rule of law, protects every person’s constitutional rights and keeps partisan political agendas out of its decisions,” Inman said.
Although Inman is running as a Democrat, she added that she thinks non-partisan judicial elections would be more fitting for the office and better for the justice system.
N.C. Supreme Court Seat 5
Ervin grew up in Morganton, N.C., and attended Davidson College and Harvard Law School. Eventually, he returned to Morganton to practice law.
In 2014, Ervin was elected to the N.C. Supreme Court and is now running for reelection. Previously, he served on the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the N.C. Court of Appeals.
“I’m running because I want to make sure we have a court system that is focused on deciding cases based on the law, the facts and nothing else,” Ervin stated.
Although he is running as a Democrat, he added he would like to prevent the court from becoming a political body. With a possible new term, Ervin said he hopes to continue the momentum he has built since joining the court eight years ago.
Originally from Robeson County, Allen attended UNC Pembroke and the UNC School of Law.
Afterward, he worked as a judge advocate in the United States Marine Corps. After being honorably discharged, he began a clerkship with N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, who is now chief justice.
According to his website, Allen said he also taught at UNC with a focus on local governmental law. Now, he works for the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts.
As a candidate, he envisions a court with judges that issue rulings based on the Constitution and written laws, excluding political views, according to his website.
Running as a Republican, Allen's website said he emphasizes dignity, respect and equal justice under the law.
Allen did not respond to The Daily Tar Heel's request for comment before the time of publication.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.