Women Justices Honored for NC Supreme Court Service

RALEIGH — In a ceremony on Tuesday, April 10, the Supreme Court of North Carolina honored the women justices who have served on the state’s highest court. This commemorative ceremony is the second official event to be held as a part of the Supreme Court’s 200th anniversary celebration.

The event featured a portrait sitting of the justices (pictured below) and a short program honoring (pictured below from left to right, top row): former Chief Justice Susie Sharp, former Chief Justice Rhoda Billings, former Chief Justice Sarah Parker, former Associate Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson; (bottom row) Associate Justice Robin E. Hudson, Associate Justice Barbara Jackson, and Associate Justice Cheri Beasley.

“Every member who has served on this Court is important and highly valued,” said Chief Justice Mark Martin. “Today, we recognize the superb contributions that this Court’s women justices have made and continue to make to our State’s jurisprudence and to the rule of law. Their wisdom and insight have benefitted this Court and all North Carolinians.”

The historic celebration included remarks by Chief Justice Martin, Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda M. McGee, former Associate Justice Franklin Freeman, Renee Crawford, Catharine Arrowood, Jenny Leisten, Janet Ward Black, Judge Donna Stroud, Denaa Griffin, and Associate Justice Hudson. Dignitaries from all three branches of government were in attendance, including current and former members of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, judges, and judicial staff.

  • Former Chief Justice Susie Sharp
    1962 – 1979
    Chief Justice Sharp became the first female judge in the history of the state in 1949. She served the next 13 years as a special judge of the Superior Court before being appointed in 1962 as the first female Supreme Court associate justice. In 1974, she became the first female in the United States to be elected Chief Justice of a state Supreme Court, and the state’s 20th chief justice.
  • Former Chief Justice Rhoda Billings
    1985 – 1986
    Chief Justice Billings served as North Carolina’s 22nd chief justice, the second woman to hold that position, and the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
  • Former Chief Justice Sarah Parker
    1993 – 2014
    Chief Justice Parker served on the N.C. Court of Appeals from 1985 until 1993, when she was sworn in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. For the next 13 years, Justice Parker was the only woman on the Court. She was appointed Chief Justice Parker in 2006, the third female in that position and the state’s 27th chief justice.
  • Former Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson
    2006 – 2012
    Justice Timmons-Goodson was the first African-American female to serve the state’s highest court. She currently serves as Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. During her 28-year tenure on the bench, she also served on the N.C. Court of Appeals from 1997 to 2005, and as a District Court judge in Judicial District 12 from 1984 to 1997.
  • Justice Robin E. Hudson
    2007 – present
    Justice Hudson has served on the Supreme Court of North Carolina since elected in 2007. She served on the Court of Appeals from 2001 to 2006, and was the first North Carolina woman elected to the appellate court division without having been appointed first.
  • Justice Barbara Jackson
    2011 – present
    Justice Jackson serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court since elected in 2010. She previously served as a Court of Appeals judge from 2004 to 2010.
  • Justice Cheri Beasley
    2012 – present
    Justice Beasley is the seventh woman and second African-American female to serve on the Supreme Court. She also served on the N.C. Court of Appeals from 2009 to 2012, as a District Court judge in Cumberland County from 1999 to 2008, and as an assistant public defender for five years.

This article courtesy of NC Administrative Office of the Courts

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