Allison Riggs was sworn into the N.C. Court of Appeals on Jan. 1, filling a vacancy left by Richard Dietz, who was elected to the N.C. Supreme Court in November.
Riggs will hear her first case on Jan. 24 and work on a panel with Judges Fred Gore and newly-elected Michael Stading. Within the 15-judge court, panels are randomly assigned and rotated frequently to allow each judge to work with one another equally over time.
“I’m grateful for this chance to serve my state,” Riggs said in a video statement on Dec. 15.
N.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Donna Stroud said the state Court of Appeals hears a wide variety of cases that are appealed from trial courts. Having judges with wide backgrounds benefits the court's ability to make sound decisions, she said.
“I haven't worked with (Riggs) personally that much, but I would expect that just as we have had in the past, that we benefit from the experience of all of our judges,” Stroud said.
Prior to her appointment, Riggs worked as an attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice where she served as the co-executive director and voting rights chief counsel. Riggs has led several voting rights cases with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and made two appearances at the U.S. Supreme Court arguing against gerrymandering.
Riggs served on the board of the national League of Women Voters until she resigned in December after being appointed to the state Court of Appeals.
Riggs served as the lead counsel for Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina, arguing that partisan gerrymandering claims should be allowed to be heard in federal court.
Jo Nicholas, the president of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, said Riggs was "in the fight" with the league from the beginning of the case.