Monday, December 29, 2008, 10:30 AM

The New COA

As we enter the new year, we'll see a different Court of Appeals.

Three judges (Tyson, McCullough, and Arrowood) are out, so we'll see three new judges: Beasley, Hunter, and Ervin.

The Court will have two Bob Hunters, which may be quite confusing.

The Court will consist overwhelmingly of Democrats (60%). (There are some comments on this point below.)

And most notably, the Court will have its first female majority ever (8-7), with Judge Beasley joining Judges McGee, Bryant, Calabria, Geer, Jackson, Stephens, and Stroud.

That's an amazing stat considering this: before the 1995 appointment of Judge McGee, only four women had ever served on the Court of Appeals in the first 28 years after the Court's formation in 1967 (those four included current N.C. Chief Justice Sarah Parker and Fourth Circuit Judge Allyson Duncan).

Indeed, in 2009 our entire appellate bench, both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, will be split evenly among men and women, 11-11, under the leadership of a female Chief Justice.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I take your point about the Democratic majority, the CoA at least is, ostensibly, non-partisan...

4:03 PM  
Blogger Sean Andrussier said...

In response to the comment about "ostensibly" nonpartisan: I take it that the comment is referring to the fact that while our races are now nonpartisan in the sense that candidates can't run as a D or R and can't be shown on the ballot that way, both political parties nonetheless treat the races as partisan at election time, by overtly endorsing their respective judicial candidates. (Note: an overwhelming majority of the COA consists of judges who (pre-reform) ran as a D or R in partisan judicial races. And one half of the D judges on the COA have received, at one time or another, judicial appointments by politically-elected governors.) Federal courts (e.g., 4th Cir) are often characterized by the number of R vs. D appointees. I don't think the party label (or gender) is useful in evaluating our COA judges or predicting how they'll rule. It's trivia.

10:01 AM  

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