By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
October 19, 2012
RALEIGH — “When Jethro visited Moses in the wilderness, he told him to select ‘capable men from all the people — men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain’ — and have them to serve as judges for the people,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “That’s why we’re endorsing Justice Paul Newby for the North Carolina Supreme Court.”
Dr. Creech said the CAL Board of Directors voted unanimously for the endorsement at its quarterly meeting Tuesday.
“This non-partisan race is simply too important for us to remain silent,” he said. “Not only is the balance of the state’s high court at stake, but we have witnessed firsthand the integrity, the expertise and the deep sense of responsibility and stewardship that Justice Newby has brought to this office for the past eight years. There is no question that he is the person for the job.”
A native of Asheboro, Newby was raised in Jamestown and earned his bachelor’s degree in public policy studies from Duke University and his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. After internships at the United States Supreme Court and in the 18th Judicial District Public Defenders Office, he practiced civil and real estate law before being appointed an assistant U.S. Attorney in Raleigh. He was elected to the N.C. Supreme Court in 2004.
In addition, he has taught a number of courses for the U.S. Department of Justice and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Campbell University. He has also co-authored a book on the North Carolina Constitution.
“Being a student of history and the law, I have the deepest respect for the wisdom of our founders in setting up three distinct branches of government with three unique roles,” Justice Newby explained. “When a person has that respect, you are better able to discern when you are tempted to implement an action best reserved for one of the other branches.”
He said he also has a deep appreciation for our “God-given fundamental rights,” including ownership of property, contract rights, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc.
“These fundamental concepts, some of which are so fundamental that they were just assumed by our founders that they would never be under assault and yet we see today, unfortunately, that many are,” he added.
Dr. Creech said that beyond his scholarship and the fact that he has written more opinions than anyone else on the court, Newby stands out for “his Christian faith, his community service and the fact that he has been a true ambassador of our nation’s legal system.”
In addition to serving as an elder, Sunday School teacher and youth leader at Christ Baptist Church in Raleigh, Justice Newby, 57, has also been active in the Boy Scouts of America for more than 25 years. In fact, the organization this week presented him with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, an honor bestowed only on Eagle Scouts who have attained significant accomplishments in their careers and have a solid record of continued community volunteer involvement.
Just as Scouts swear an oath to God and country, Justice Newby recently told WRAL that he takes his oath of office at the N.C. Supreme Court seriously.
“We all take an oath. We say before God that we will perform our duties, uphold the Constitution, enforce the statutes as intended …” he said emphasizing the nation’s history and its reliance on religion and morality as pillars of society. “… Our rights come not from the government, or the Bill of Rights or the Constitution, but our rights come from our Creator.”
In contrast, when Newby’s challenger, Court of Appeals Judge Samuel “Jimmy” Ervin IV, was asked what role religion or faith plays in his work as a judge, he told WRAL “Directly, none.”
“We operate in a secular court system and for that reason the law we look at is the law passed by the General Assembly. Our job is to interpret that law …. My sense is that while obviously a person is influenced by their surroundings — what is that (poet Alfred Lord) Tennyson said? ‘I am a part of all that I have met’ — family background, where you grew up, who you knew as friends, what your life experiences have been, they’re all there. And certainly my religious background affects who I am,” Ervin told the TV station. “But certainly … it is not the job of an appellate judge to say we have some kind of theological responsibility. It’s a secular court system and we’re secular lawyers.”
As a strict constructionist, Justice Newby said he prides himself on his ability to appreciate and properly execute the role of the judiciary, applying the law as intended and not trying to legislate from the bench.
“The goal is to understand what was intended in the first place. A constitution is a social contract, and like with any contract, there is a meeting of the minds,” he said. “The court should discern what was the intended provision and faithfully apply it so that when people want to change the law, they can go through the amendment process as opposed to a judge inserting his or her own opinion.”
Serving on three committees of the North Carolina Bar Association, Justice Newby earned its Citizen Lawyer Award in 2011 and the John McNeill Smith Jr. Award this year in recognition of his work in the area of constitutional rights and responsibilities. He hosted a group of international judges for the Open World Program, sponsored by the Library of Congress.
His integrity, fairness and common sense approach has been recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business and the N.C. Chamber of Commerce PACs, both of which recently endorsed Newby.
He is also the choice of numerous former N.C. Supreme Court Justices from both sides of the political aisle, including Jim Exum, Rhoda Billings, Burley Mitchell, I. Beverly Lake, Bob Orr and Ed Brady. And he has the endorsement of the N.C. Fraternal Order of Police among other organizations.
Ervin, known to many as “Jimmy,” will be listed on the ballot as Sam J. Ervin IV, the name he shares with his grandfather, U.S. Sen. Sam Ervin Jr. of Watergate fame. He has the endorsement of Equality North Carolina and Replacements Ltd. PAC, organizations which bitterly opposed the Marriage Protection Amendment this spring. He is also the choice of the AFL-CIO, the NC Association of Educators and the liberal-leaning alternative tabloid, Indy Week.
“These endorsements alone reveal the divergent viewpoints of these two judicial candidates,” said Dr. Creech. “That’s another reason we strongly urge Christians across the state to choose Justice Newby on Nov. 6.”
“Furthermore, we remind anyone who is considering voting a straight-party ballot that he or she will have to mark the presidential race and the non-partisan races, including the judicial races, separately,” he added. “Please don’t miss this important detail. Make your vote count for all the races.”
Justice Newby and his wife, Macon, have four children and live in Raleigh, having moved into the city in 2002 from the 120-acre Creedmoor farm that they have owned since 1996.
If you would like to know more about Justice Newby, check out the North Carolina Court System site at http://www.nccourts.org/Courts/Appellate/Supreme/Biographies/Biography.asp?Name=Newby or his campaign site at http://www.newbyforcourt.com/.