North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Martin Newby was in Laurinburg Friday to discuss his re-election campaign and to promote the conservative judicial philosophy which he said have come to characterize his work on the Court.
Elected in 2004, Newby is seeking his second term on the court and facing NC Court of Appeals judge Sam J. Ervin, IV.
A self-termed “conservative,” Newby told the Exchange that he believes strongly in the separation and balance of powers and in a strict interpretation of the law.
“(Being a conservative) means that I conserve the founding principles of our government. … The job of justices is simply to determine constitutionality. As long as the legislature has acted constitutionally, we are to simply apply the law as it was intended, not to put our own policy preferences into (cases).”
An adjunct professor at Campbell Law School, Newby said that his body eight year body of work is comprised of opinions where he acted consistently and within his philosophy. Newby credited that consistency with what he called “broad, bi-partisan support.”
“They see that I am consistent, that I am fair and impartial and that I am predictable,” Newby said.
Political Action Committees have spent thousands of dollars in support of Newby, and the justice speculated that they may have chosen to do so because they would not like for him to lose simply because of Ervin’s name recognition and because of his position on the ballot.
“I am facing structural challenges,” Newby said.
According to Newby, studies have shown that in judicial races appearing first on the ballot is often work five percentage points in the final vote. Newby’s name will appear after his opponent’s on the ballot.
The grandson of former U.S. Senator from North Carolina Sam Ervin, Jr., Ervin will also have a name recognition advantage, Newby said.
Newby accused Ervin of leveraging that advantage by appearing on the ballot as Sam J. Ervin, IV and not as “Jimmy” Ervin, as Newby said he has been known for most of his life.
“You are not going to find ‘Jimmy’ on the ballot anywhere. I think that this race should be about qualifications. He is running on his grandfather’s name, not on his name, hence the name on the ballot.
“(Ervin) has been told by leaders of his own party that … Newby deserves to be re-elected. My opponent decides to run against me for partisan reasons,” Newby said.