N.C. Appeals Court Judge Lucy Inman is campaigning for a seat on the state Supreme Court. Inman announced her intentions shortly after being defeated by fellow Court of Appeals Judge Phil Berger Jr. in 2020 for an open seat on the state’s highest court.
Berger defeated Inman 51% to 49%, a margin of 71,517 votes.
After losing such a close race, it is not surprising that the Democrat Inman would throw her hat in the ring again. It’s somewhat unusual because the two seats up for election in 2022 are currently held by Democrats.
Democratic Associate Justice Sam Ervin IV must defend his seat in 2022, and he has already announced plans to run again.
Democratic Associate Justice Robin Hudson faces mandatory retirement in early 2024 because of her age. If she runs for re-election next year, she could serve only a little more than one year of an eight-year term.
Inman held a fundraiser on June 30 with retired Chief Justice Jim Exum, hosted by Duke law professor and attorney Hans Linnartz, whose specialty is fighting the deportation of illegal immigrants and other immigration cases. Also hosting the Inman fundraiser was Ann Robertson, who is an immigration attorney as well.
The top donation level for the event was $5,600, with the cheap seats going for $100. Sponsors included Capital Broadcasting magnates Jim and Barbara Goodmon, SAS founder Jim Goodnight, Former Raleigh Mayors Nancy McFarlane and Smedes York, plus former News and Observer publishers Frank Daniels and Orage Quarles.
Inman served as a special Superior Court judge from 2010-2014. She was elected to an eight-year term on the N.C. Court of Appeals in 2014. Running for Supreme Court in 2022 would leave her current Appeals Court seat open to be filled by election.
Should Hudson retire, with Inman running for her seat, the likely Republican opponent would be fellow Court of Appeals member Richard Dietz, who announced his intention to run for Supreme Court earlier this year. Dietz joined the Court of Appeals in 2014. Dietz is known as a conservative intellectual with a record of conservative jurisprudence, but with a unique ability to develop consensus on the court. Dietz is reportedly inclined to run for the Hudson seat but has not yet made that announcement public.
Both major political parties have their eyes on the Supreme Court in 2022, where control of the court is up for grabs.
This spring, newly seated Republican state Appeals Court Judge April Wood, announced she would seek to move up to the state Supreme Court in 2022. Wood defeated Democrat Tricia Shields 52% to 48%, a margin of 190,456 votes, in her 2020 race for the Court of Appeals.
The third Republican running for state Supreme Court is Trey Allen, a UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government professor and general counsel at the Administrative Office of the Courts. He is a former clerk for then-Associate Justice Paul Newby, who won a 2020 election to become the current chief justice.
Allen was born in Robeson County, obtained a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Pembroke, and earned a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Allen began his legal career as a judge advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps. He spent most of his time in the Marines overseas, and his military service included a deployment to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.