Preston v. Movahed, et al. (2020)
Cooper v. Berger, et al (2018)
Justus v. Rosner, et al. (2018)
Religious liberty is at risk in the United States and deserves the highest level of protection in the law.
The Ten Commandments should not be displayed in public school buildings or court houses.
What does "separation of church and state" mean to you?
"Separation of church and state" means the government should stay out of the church. Since 1776, the NC Constitution has said each of us has an "inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of"one's own conscience. In 1868 we added additional protection providing that no governmental authority may interfere with those rights. This idea is consistent with the protection provided by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. Government may not coerce religious activity, nor may it prohibit or interfere with it. Government must respect and protect religious liberty.
Judeo-Christian values established a framework of morality which is necessary for our system of limited government.
George Washington's comment that “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society” is still true today.
What in the nature of mankind caused America’s Founders to carefully define, separate, and limit powers in the Constitution?
The Founders recognized that mankind has a fallen nature; humans are naturally selfish. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. They knew if men were angels, we’d need no government. We are not angels, so carefully limiting, defining, and separating power is a vital safeguard against tyranny.
Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.
I believe I am a sinner saved by the grace of God, through faith in His Son, Jesus, Who died in my place, taking upon Himself the penalty of my sin. My calling is to honor God in all I do, being His ambassador to this world. I am grateful for His Word, the Bible, which provides instruction for life.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges allowing members of the same sex to marry, which justice’s opinion in that case most closely approximates your understanding of marriage?
I voted in these primaries and general elections:
2012 Republican Primary, 2012 General Election, 2014 Republican Primary, 2014 General Election, 2016 Republican Primary, 2016 General Election, 2018 General Election
When you consider your views on a wide range of issues from economic and social matters to foreign policy and immigration, which of the following best describes you overall?
Please provide publicly available information validating your answer to the previous question.
I have authored numerous opinions (majority, concurring, and dissenting) during my more than 15 years as a Justice of the Supreme Court of NC. These opinions indicate my conservative judicial philosophy: that courts should follow the law and not legislate. The opinions are accessible at: https://appellate.nccourts.org/opinion-filings/?c=sc
What education or experience qualifies you to hold the office for which you seek election?
I am the senior (longest serving) member of the Supreme Court of NC. I'm seeking the position of Chief Justice-leader of the Judicial Branch. I have served on the Supreme Court for more than 15 years and have been a lawyer for almost 40 years. I have been an adjunct law professor for more than 10 years. I'm co-author of a book on the NC Constitution, the North Carolina Constitution with History and Commentary (2nd Edition 2013). Over the course of my legal and judicial career, I have encountered every area of the law. My years as a justice have familiarized me with the wide range of issues addressed by the Supreme Court and our State's judiciary. I have served on various legal commissions and committees evaluating the provision of legal services and the challenges in our justice system. These experiences have given me the knowledge and perspective needed to understand the unique role of the Judicial Branch and the fundamental importance of equal justice for all.
In what areas of law have you practiced?
During my almost 40 years as a lawyer and justice, I have experience in every area of the law. As an attorney, I prosecuted criminal cases and handled civil litigation and all kinds of real estate and business transactions.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony or been penalized for sexual misconduct? If so, please explain.
Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?
I have truly been blessed to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court of NC for more than 15 years. I was born in Asheboro and raised in Jamestown, NC. My mother was a school teacher, my dad an hourly worker. Who could've guessed that, by God's grace, I would serve on the NC Supreme Court. I met my first lawyer through Boy Scouts, on my path to Eagle. (I've served in various roles in scouting, including Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, and Board member. I received the Heroism Award for rescuing 9 people from a riptide, the Silver Beaver, the Scouter of the Year, and have been designated a Distinguished Eagle.) Over the years, I received the NC Bar Association’s Constitutional Rights Award and Citizen Lawyer Award. I appreciate your support in 2004 and again in 2012. I ask for your support in 2020.
The U.S. Constitution and my state constitution should be interpreted as living documents, rather than using a strict constructionist or originalist approach in judicial decisions.
There are times when American judges should alter U.S. case law in order to comply with foreign case law.
I support the use of Sharia law as a basis for legislation and judicial decisions in the United States.
There should be more than nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Which current U.S. Supreme Court justice best reflects your judicial philosophy?
Justice Clarence Thomas
Which U.S. president serving after 1960 best reflects your political philosophy?
What is the proper use of legislative history in interpreting statutory law?
A court should apply a law as intended by the legislature. The best way to determine legislative intent is the language of the statute. If the statute is clear and unambiguous, the language controls. If the language is unclear, the court should look at the language within the statutory framework, including any stated legislative purpose. If these primary approaches fail to provide the legislative intent, legislative history may provide some perspective. Generally, in North Carolina, courts do not use legislative history.
What specific text in the Declaration of Independence provides the critical basis for individual rights and the form of government guaranteed in the United States Constitution?
The specific text of the Declaration which provides the basis for individual rights and the form of government is that which acknowledges that our rights are God-given and that government's purpose is to protect those rights. The specific text is, "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed...."