AKA Member Scores A First In NC: Call Her Madam Chief Justice

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday, NC Governor Roy Cooper announced he was appointing North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Cheri L. Beasley to the position of Chief Justice of NC’s highest court, following the retirement of Mark Martin. Beasley, who was elected to the NC Court of Appeals in 2008, served on that court until then Governor Beverly Perdue appointed her to the NC Supreme Court in 2012.

She was elected to her first full eight-year term on the Supreme Court in November 2014. Judge Beasley graduated from Rutgers University, where she became a 2013 Inductee into the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame. She also graduated from the University of Tennessee Law School. Governor Jim Hunt first appointed her to the NC bench as a state district court judge in District 12 (Cumberland County) in 1999. She went on to win election in 2002, and again in 2006, at which time she won without opposition. This is Beasley’s 20th year as a judge, and her 7th on the Supreme Court. She was a Public Defender in Fayetteville before becoming a judge.

In what will be an historic occurrence, Beasley will serve as the state’s first African American female Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court. NC judges are usually elected, not appointed. However, when former Chief Justice Mark Martin announced he would retire this month, state law gave Governor Cooper the power to pick Martin’s successor. Since Cooper picked a current Associate Justice to fill Martin’s seat, that means Beasley’s seat will be vacant, which he will also need to fill. The net, net, is the court may move further to the left. The split had been 5-2, Democrats, before Martin’s resignation. If Cooper picks a Democrat to fill Beasley’s seat, the court will have a 6-1 Democratic majority.

This year, the NC Supreme Court will be 200 years old. Stating the obvious, Beasley noted the anniversary during Cooper’s announcement that she would ascend to the position, “This is not the North Carolina of 200 years ago.”

In introducing Beasley, Cooper added, she was the right woman for the job. Beasley added that she wanted to serve as an inspiration for young girls, and also that she would “make sure that our justice system is sound, and that we are indeed serving the people of North Carolina the way we should.”

As an aside, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., historically important in its own right, has garnered a fair amount of extra-special attention due to the recently announced Presidential candidacy of one of its esteemed members, Kamala Harris. All due respect to Senator Harris, but add Justice Beasley to the list of Alpha Kappa Alpha members making headlines. Moreover, while we have another 21 months, if all goes well for her, before we know whether Senator Harris will claim the position she seeks, Congratulations right now to Justice Beasley, a 2014 recipient of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Achievement Award. Also, it’s worth noting, tomorrow is her 53rdBirthday. Altogether now, Happy Birthday & Happy Valentine’s Day Chief Justice Beasley. AKA Member Scores a First in NC: Call Her Madam Chief Justice!”

I’m done; holla back!

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