City Calendar


Greensboro’s Bob Hunter To Serve On

NC Supreme Court



August 28, 2014

Greensboro native and North Carolina Supreme Court candidate Bob Hunter was appointed Wednesday, August 20 to serve out an unexpired term on the North Carolina Supreme Court by Gov. Pat McCrory.  Hunter will be sworn in next month.


It might sound like, having been appointed, Hunter would no longer have to run, but his current term ends in January and he would like to be a state Supreme Court justice for longer than four months.  So Hunter is running for a term that starts in January.  If he wins, he’ll only have to move his office once.


Hunter was elected to and has served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals since 2008.  He previously practiced law in Greensboro and served as the chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Elections from 1985 to 1989.  Along with practicing law, Hunter has taught at Wake Forest University School of Law, Elon University School of Law and the North Carolina Central University School of Law as an adjunct professor.


Hunter is a graduate of Walter Hines Page High School in Greensboro and, once he is sworn in, will be the second Page graduate serving on the seven-member state Supreme Court.  Justice Robin Hudson, who was elected in 2006, is also a Page High School graduate.  So Ragsdale High School may have the governor’s mansion, but Page has two North Carolina Supreme Court justices.


Running for judge is pretty strange.  Ethically, sitting judges aren’t supposed to talk about cases they have ruled on, and they can’t talk about cases that might come before them or they would have to recuse themselves since that would be evidence that they had made up their minds before hearing the case.


So, unlike candidates running for other offices, they really can’t talk about what they have done or what they plan to do.  The NC Supreme Court justice races are also nominally nonpartisan, although political cases that come before the NC Supreme Court are almost always decided along party lines.


Hunter is a Republican and his opponent, North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Sam J. Ervin IV, is a Democrat.


The Republicans currently control the North Carolina General Assembly and the governor’s mansion.  If the Democrats were to win control of the state Supreme Court, much of the work done by the legislative branch could be undone by the court.  Not that the court is supposed to be involved in politics, but whether it is supposed to be or not, it is.  That is why advocates of both parties pour money into races for judicial seats that most folks don’t seem that interested in.


Two years ago Ervin ran for the Supreme Court against North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, who ran some funny and extremely memorable television commercials that seemed to work.


One thing about Ervin that seems to be worth noting is that you could have known him for years and not realized that he is running for the North Carolina Supreme Court, which is because, when he isn’t running a political campaign, he goes by his middle name, James, or Jimmy.  He is the grandson of former and famous North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin, and his name is Samuel James Ervin IV.  But to have someone running for the Supreme Court using a name they don’t use except to run for office doesn’t seem quite right.  It’s his name and he has every legal right to use it.  But if he is running on his own abilities and record, why is he using his grandfather’s name rather than the one he uses in everyday life?  The reason is obvious; few people have ever heard of Jimmy Ervin but a lot of folks still remember Senator Sam.


Bob Hunter is running as Bob Hunter and has been serving on the Court of Appeals as Bob Hunter, which has been terribly confusing since there is another Bob Hunter serving on the Court of Appeals at the same time.


In fact, when the announcement was made that Bob Hunter had been appointed to the state Supreme Court, the notice sent out by the Court of Appeals had the photo of the other Bob Hunter on it.


The other Bob Hunter is retiring and our Bob Hunter is not running for reelection to the Court of Appeals because he is running for the state Supreme Court.  So in 2015, the year will at least start out with no Bob Hunters on the Court of Appeals, where, as in 2014, it had two.




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