Civil rights attorney to run for N.C. High Court

Civil rights attorney to run for N.C. High Court
November 22
11:02 2017

The lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the Covington v. State of North Carolina has announced that she will run for the N.C. Supreme Court in 2018.

Anita Earls, founder and executive director of the Southern Coalition for Justice, told supporters and reporters gathered in front of State Democratic Party headquarters in Raleigh Nov. 15th that she, “…passionately believe in the importance of the right to vote, and that an independent judiciary is crucial to the balance of powers necessary to maintain democratic government of, by and for the people.”

Earls is already known as one of the most dynamic civil rights attorneys in North Carolina, if not the nation. She has consistently worked with the N.C. NAACP and other social justice groups, challenging the Republican-led N.C.  legislature’s voter suppression laws, and unconstitutional voting districts, as later determined by the federal courts.

North Carolina’s civil rights community was one hundred percent behind Earls’ announcement.

“Anita Earls is a tremendous jurist, a profound litigator and deeply committed to the principles of justice for all,” said Bishop William Barber, former president of the N.C. NAACP. “She has been a champion for the full constitutional protection of women, minorities, blacks, the poor and entire human family.”

The current N.C. NAACP president, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, concurred.

“I don’t know of anyone more committed to bending the arc of the universe toward justice than Attorney Anita Earls.” Rev. Spearman said. “Whenever I have been in her presence to hear her offer legal opinions, insights or otherwise, the contributions of Attorney Earls have been like a plumline –  ethically balanced and judiciously centered.

“Hers is a superior legal mind.”

One of the NAACP attorneys who has been in the trenches with Attorney Earls over the years has had a front row seat to witness her legal prowess, and deep commitment to justice.

“Without a doubt, Attorney Earls is a Constitutional Law scholar,” says NCCU Law Professor Irving Joyner, chair of the N.C. NAACP Legal Redress Committee. “She possesses the intellectual breadth of knowledge and the judicial demeanor necessary to ensure North Carolina citizens that she will be an impartial arbiter of the many rights and privileges which citizens entrust to our appellate courts to decide.

“Her ascension to the Supreme Court will be a loss for the many citizens who encounter Civil Rights and Constitutional law issues, but her expertise is needed on our State’s court,” Prof. Joyner added.

On the day of her announcement, attorney Earls had already garnered the endorsements of State Sens. Angela Bryant and Floyd McKissick, Jr., Congressman and former Associate N.C.  Supreme Court Justice G. K. Butterfield, Linda Wilkins-Daniels, chair of the African-American Caucus of the N.C. Democratic Party, and former N.C .Gov. Jim Hunt.

“…[T]he qualification I hope voters will most evaluate is whether I can fairly and faithfully apply the law equally to everyone whose case comes before the Court,” Earls said during her Nov. 15th press conference. “ I believe my record demonstrates that I have an unflinching dedication to the principle of equality before the law.  I ask for your support in November 2018…”

Earls has served on the North Carolina Board of Elections, she’s taught at Duke University, UNC – Chapel Hill, and the University of Maryland.

If Earls were to win a seat on the state’s highest court, she could conceivably join incumbent associate justices Cheri Beasley and Mike Morgan, making for three African-Americans on the N.C.  Supreme Court at one time.

The Republican-led state Senate is leaning towards changing the rules governing judicial elections in 2018, having Supreme Court justices serving only two-year terms, instead of the customary eight. That means everyone on the court now would have to run for re-election in 2018.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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