10/21/04 — Endorsements: Court of Appeals

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Endorsements: Court of Appeals

North Carolina has been blessed with great wisdom on its Court of Appeals since the court was established in the 1960s. Three of its 15 seats will be filled in the Nov. 2 election, and the voters again have an excellent group of candidates from which to choose.

It would be difficult to recommend that any of the sitting judges be ousted, and there are incumbents in each race.

Here are the Court of Appeals races that you will find on your ballot:

•Bryant Seat: Incumbent Wanda Bryant, a Democrat, vs. Republican Alice Stubbs. Here we have a choice between two excellent candidates, but Ms. Bryant has won considerable acclaim for her work on the court. Her experience there — as opposed to Ms. Stubbs’ experience as a Wake County District Court judge — gives Ms. Bryant the edge.

•McGee Seat: Democrat Linda McGee has served for nine years on a fine court. Some in Wayne County will find it interesting that her opponent, Republican Bill Parker, is an Air Force retiree and that he lived here from 1975 to 1980. He was stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base as a navigator aboard a KC-135 tanker aircraft. But compared to Ms. McGee, his legal experience is thin. He attended law school after retiring and has practiced law for seven years in Raleigh. Ms. McGee is better qualified.

•Thornburg seat: True blue North Carolina Democrat Alan Thornburg was born to it, the son of Lacy Thornburg, former attorney general and judge. Thornburg the younger — he’s 37 — practiced law in Asheville until he was appointed to the Court of Appeals last January by Gov. Mike Easley. He doesn’t have an overabundance of judicial experience but he has more than his opponent, Republican Barbara Jackson. Ms. Jackson is the general counsel for the state Department of Labor, working for Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry. Thornburg is the better choice.

These will be nonpartisan elections, but the candidates are not reluctant to make their political affiliation known.

The terms are eight years.

Published in Editorials on October 21, 2004 11:38 AM