NC Supreme Court Races: Chief Justice Race Updates

For those following along, I’ve been outlining and looking into the Supreme Court races in North Carolina this year.

I have  some updates to report. I have received some communications from Justice Martin and from Judge Lewis.  With regard to some of the media reports I recounted in the article NC Supreme Court Races: Chief Justice Race, Judge Lewis weighed in.

In the previous article, I had questioned the statistics in a quote the News and Observer published but never followed up on. :

 In her three-minute address at the district convention, Lewis criticized the high court’s productivity. “Our current Supreme Court is one of the lowest ranked Supreme Court’s in the nation, ranked 36th by way of productivity,” she told Republican activists. “My opponent having only written five opinions in the last year.”

 Judge Lewis has sent me information on which the quote above has its basis in. These were the sources provided:

  1. Business as usual at the Supreme Court – NC Policy Watch, June 2013
  2. Discretion at the Supreme Court – NC Policy Watch, September 2013
  3. What Exactly Is a “Substantial Constitutional  Question” for Purposes of Appeal to the North Carolina Supreme Court?  – Justice Orr, Law Review, March 2011

There was also a Duke study, which mirrored some of the University of Chicago’s study I previously reported.

It’s worth noting the News and Observer also incorrectly attributed the appointment of Judge Lewis to Governor Easley. Lewis’s appointments were made by Governor Hunt:

Superior Court Judge Ola M. Lewis of Brunswick County on Thursday switched her registration from Democrat to Republican. Lewis is one of two black female Superior Court judges in the state. She was appointed by Democratic Gov. Mike Easley and won election this past November. –News and Observer

There is an update on the WWAY-3 ABC article that dealt with a closed-door meeting and security escorting people out. Relevant excerpt:

When we tried attending the meeting, we were escorted out by a sheriff’s deputy and told it was “private meeting.” When we followed up, we were told that Brunswick County Judge Ola Lewis had requested security for the meeting to keep anyone from coming in.

We called Judge Lewis and reminded her that the Bar Association was meeting in a public building (the courthouse) and using tax-payer resources (sheriff’s deputies) to run security for the meeting, therefore it should be open to the media and public in general. She said they always had their meetings there, and even though it didn’t look good, said the meeting should be closed. –WWAY3 ABC

Judge Lewis has communicated to me that “…in the article from Wilmington which states I had the news media escorted out by a bailiff is also incorrect.  Elva Jess, a local lawyer, asked the bailiff to have the media removed.  I guess “Elva” and “Ola” can sound alike.”  Judge Lewis had indicated there was an attempt to get the story updated at WWAY3, but has to date been unsuccessful. 

I’ve also heard from Justice Martin, who provided me with eight opinion links versus the previous claim from his opponent that he had only authored five. Here is Justice Martin’s most recent opinion from March 2014.

Here are the eight listed under Judge Martin for 2013:

Still to come in this series: Review of Doran/Levinson/Hudson Race and a review of the Beasley/Robinson race.



About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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