By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
SELMA — Reading hundreds of opinions of the North Carolina Court of Appeals has led N.C. Supreme Court Judicial Clerk Steven Walker to a very strong opinion of his own — judges should apply the law as it is written and not attempt to create new law.
That strict constructionist position on constitutional interpretation is what he promises to bring to the Court of Appeals if elected to fill the Elmore seat.
A native of Hendersonville, N.C., Walker said picking and packing cucumbers as a summer job during his youth taught him a bit about hard work. He applied that same work ethic to the classroom and graduated with honors from Campbell University School of Law.
Since 2005 he has worked in the chambers of Associate Justice Edward Thomas Brady of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. In addition to supervising interns and managing workload among a team of clerks, Walker has spent most of his time poring over Appeals Court rulings and advising Justice Brady of the merits of each case.
“I recommend whether or not it should be brought up. If everybody agrees with the Court of Appeals, it doesn’t need to come before the Supreme Court,” he explained.
He said reviewing opinion after opinion that included judicial activism convinced him that there needs to be a new face on the Court of Appeals, so he’s filed to oppose incumbent Rick Elmore.
“We’ve got to have people if they say they are conservative to really be conservative. And I can’t stress enough that actions speak louder than words,” he said. “Judges are not on the bench to second guess everything the Legislature does.”
Walker said he has traveled some 30,000 miles since February meeting with voters across the state and that the judicial races which usually garner very little notice may be getting more attention this year as conservative groups such as those involved in the Tea Party movement have urged voters to get informed.
As they do so, he hopes they’ll view the breadth of his experience and not just the number of years he’s worked.
“You might have someone who has practiced criminal law for 20 years, but if that person is a judge and gets a real estate case he could be lost,” he said. “In Justice Brady’s office, even though it’s been a shorter time period, I’ve dealt with cases from traffic all the way up to capital murder, so it has given me a broad base of experience.”
He said his current work has also given him a thorough understanding of how the appellate judicial system works as well as a solid grasp on the procedural and substantive issues raised.
Another current role that Walker fills and will continue to fill whatever the outcome in November is that of pastor at Parrish Memorial Baptist Church in Selma. Although, Walker and Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, have never met, Walker currently pastors the same church Rev. Creech did before becoming executive director.
“I would not leave the church,” said Walker, who said that before filing for office he checked with the Judicial Standards Commission to make sure that he could serve as a Court of Appeals judge while pastoring. He is already accustomed to juggling his schedule with his current work as an attorney.
Walker said his relationship with Christ first and then his wife and three children are priorities that don’t change inside or outside of the courthouse.
“As a Christian I have a certain worldview just as every other person has their own philosophy or presuppositions that they come from. My faith plays into everything I do,” he said.
Walker, who is 30, told the crowd at a Federalist Society judicial candidates forum last month that both his youth and his faith are a plus.
“If you go back and look at a lot of our Founders, a lot of the people that were influential during the founding of our country, you will see a lot of people with a heavy religious background and I think it’s a good thing,” he said.
To find out more about Steven Walker, log onto www.walkerforcoa.com.