Carolina Democracy

Our First Judicial Candidate!

June 06, 2022 Episode 22
Carolina Democracy
Our First Judicial Candidate!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome back to Carolina Democracy! Today, we’re joined by Judge Lucy Inman who is running to replacing retiring State Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson on the North Carolina Supreme Court. We talked about her first career in journalism, her decision to enter the legal profession and later serve on the bench, and why she's running for our state's highest court. Plus, of course we catch up on the latest political news in North Carolina!

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Judge Inman: I am running for the Supreme Court to continue my service and to protect the integrity of that Court. And I cannot promise how I will decide any case, but I can promise that I will decide every case impartially, honestly, and transparently. 

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JD Wooten: Hey everyone, JD Wooten here. Welcome back to Carolina Democracy. Today I’m joined by Judge Lucy Inman of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Judge Inman is a candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court this year to fill the vacancy that will come with the retirement of Justice Robin Hudson at the end of the year. We talk about her first career in journalism, how that led to a transition into the legal career, and how she eventually became a member of the state judiciary.

But first, a little house keeping. I usually save this part for the end, but I’m going to try leading with it now. If you enjoy this episode, please share it with a friend. Or two, that’s fine too. I just want our guests to reach the largest audience possible to help spread their message, and to do that, I need your help. We have seen some amazing growth over the first few months of this project, but I also know there is a vast audience of concerned, engaged North Carolinians who would love to hear from our local and state candidates. Help us reach them by sharing this episode, or any other episode you think they might like. Fighting for democracy is a team sport, and it’s obviously what all the cool kids are doing, so try it out. You might like it!

Ok, now let’s talk about some things impacting democracy here in North Carolina from the past week. And oh man do we have some updates. Last week we talked about Phil Berger and Senate Republicans’ change of heart over Medicaid Expansion. That bill marched through the Senate with quite the fanfare of impassioned support from numerous senators who had previously been staunch opponents. The reasoning and justifications for supporting it now mostly followed the same reasoning Democrats have been advocating for it for a decade. Honestly, I was baffled and felt like it was something out of the twilight zone, but as I said last week, I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I’m ecstatic that the senate finally passed Medicaid Expansion. I don’t love that they lumped it in with other things like certificate of need laws and advance practice nurse regulations, but hey, that’s part of the give and take in democracy that makes it work. I’d have much preferred a clean bill to avoid giving House Republicans any excuses to not support it, but again, I’m not going to be picky at this point.

I’m still just flabbergasted after two campaigns, just recently in the grand scheme of things, in which I was demonized by some people and groups for my advocacy for things like Medicaid Expansion. In the lone candidate forum we had in 2020 before the pandemic, my opponent went off on the boogey man talking points we heard time and again against Medicaid Expansion. My response was to point out that boogey man arguments were nothing more than fear, uncertainty, and doubt, and that a decade of experiences in other states had disproven every single point she was making. She attacked me, quite passionately, saying that I lacked leadership to have called her out on her lies. She didn’t use those words, as I’m sure you might imagine. I think it was something like calling her arguments boogey man fear tactics lacked leadership. I then pointed out that lying to people repeatedly to prey on their fears despite the overwhelming evidence refuting every single point she had made lacked leadership and that such tactics made her fundamentally unfit for public service. She wasn’t thrilled with which one of us got the standing ovation that day.

Still, she voted for Medicaid Expansion this week, and for that, I thank her. I would love to see her change her mind on public education, corporate tax breaks, confederate monuments, among many other items, but these things take time. Welcome to the Medicaid Expansion club, Senator.

Another fascinating development was a state senate bill that came up somewhat unexpectedly, at least in my opinion, and passed with strong support – legalizing medical marijuana. Senator Bill Rabon, a powerful Republican and Chair of both the Rules and Finance Committees, made this a pet project of his so to speak. Senator Rabon is a cancer survivor himself, and watched a close friend suffer through an ALS diagnosis. Unfortunately, he has seen first hand the potential benefits that compassionate end-of life care, such as medical marijuana, can bring. I think this offers a great reminder of how sometimes, breaking through to others comes after they have experienced the unknown “other” they so long feared.

Having watched many family members struggle with and eventually succumb to chronic illnesses, I would never wish that on anyone. But there are other areas of life and policy where we can proactively work to help everyone gain new experiences that change their perspectives, perhaps two of the prime examples coming in the worlds of racial and gender equality. The more people experience fully integrated lived experiences, both in terms of gender and race, and the earlier in life they begin that journey, the more natural it comes to feel. And the more compassion we learn to have for those who don’t look like us, or come from the same places or lived experiences as us. Different is not bad, but sometimes it takes experiencing a lot of that different to fully embrace the idea.

Now, we still have a long way to go before either of these bills become law. House Speaker Tim Moore said he doesn’t anticipate bringing these measures to a vote in the House this session, so unfortunately, we may be looking at 2023 before any action is taken on these measures. The cynic in my wonders if perhaps the Senate Republicans had the assurances of House Republicans that these measures wouldn’t actually become law, and therefore went ahead and passed these bills to take these issues off the table for the 2022 election cycle. As we discussed with Alex Jones a few weeks ago, Medicaid Expansion and medical marijuana are wildly popular with the voters, and split conservative voters, so these would have been great issues for Democrats to continue running on going into the fall. Now, state senators who voted for these bills have the benefit of showing support for the measures, insulating themselves from, or at least muting any real criticism around these issues. If that’s really what happened behind closed doors, it would be a smart political move, however dastardly it may be. I’m not saying that’s what happened, but I don’t have a lot of trust in the altruistic motives of the GOP at the moment, so I’m just saying it wouldn’t surprise me to find that out one day. Still, it’s progress that they passed these measures now and hopefully that makes seeing them become law someday, even if not right away, that much more likely.

In far less exciting news, we unfortunately also saw North Carolina’s version of a “Don’t Say Gay” bill mak e it through the Senate as well. To me, this is another unnecessary culture war issue reminiscent of the Bathroom Bill. I guess maybe the GOP didn’t learn their lesson after all. Most fundamentally, this bill codifies things at the state level which I think  are best left to the discretion of local teachers, administrators, school boards, and parents. So on that governing principal of local control in education alone, I’m opposed to this bill. But it also forces teachers to out students of any age who want to change their pronouns, and school is sometimes the place these children and teenagers feel safest. The bill removes any discretion in how to handle these situations and automatically prescribes a forced, bigoted approach. It’s morally unconscionable. Are there times, perhaps even the majority of times, that a teacher or school should communicate such changes with parents. But this bill is an unnecessary and cruel attack on our most vulnerable young people from a group who is fearful of cultural change and grasping at every opportunity they can to fight back. It’s downright shameful.

I’m not alone in that perspective. Here’s how our friends at the New North Carolina Project described this bill and a similar bill introduced in the state house. “These bills will ban all sexuality and gender curriculum in K - 3rd or 6th Grade, disclose counseling notes of students giving students no right to privacy, out students to parents when they aren't ready putting them in danger if they are not safe to be out at home, all curricula in classrooms could be challenged and teachers and schools could face litigation for LGBT affirming resources, books, curricula if a parent opposes. To this day, the Department of Public Instruction still does not include anything in the curriculum regarding the LGBTQ+ community and its history. These bills are harmful to students, teachers and parents.”

Democratic Minority Whip Jay Chaudhuri, one of our earliest guests on the podcast, said the senate bill will harm our most vulnerable students, our state’s economy, and was only about partisan gain, political mandates, and flat-out prejudice. State Senator Michael Garrett of Guilford County observed that “Everyone agrees that parents should be involved in their children’s education, but that this bill is nothing but HB2, classroom edition." Kendra Johnson, Executive Director of Equality NC, said, “My only conclusion is that it’s much easier to tear down systems than to fix them. And it is much easier to solve a manufactured problem than to solve a real one.” Finally, as Governor Cooper rather succiently put it, “keep the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ culture wars out of North Carolina classrooms.” 

So as always, we must ask what can we do today? I favor offensive action, which means supporting and electing candidates who share our values. It means engaging new voters and getting past voters to show up. Maybe that means helping knock on doors. Maybe that means donating to a candidate or organization fighting for our causes. Maybe that means phone banking. Maybe that even just means forwarding this podcast to a friend to help our guests reach the largest audience possible. Shameless plug, I know. Whatever you do, please, do something.

And finally, a quick reminder that numerous counties and municipalities have run off primary elections or general elections on July 26th. Here’s a list of municipalities and counties with something on the ballot July 26th, so if you’re in one of these places, look into it: Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Hickory, Mooresville, Sanford, Cary, Elizabeth City, Erwin, Henderson, New Bern, Rocky Mount, Statesville, Caswell County, Edgecombe County, Franklin County, Granville County, Graham County, and Wake County. Early voting for these elections will begin on July 7th and end July 23rd, with the main election day being July 26th. The Absentee Ballot Request Portal is also open online, and I’ll leave that link in the show notes. Again, check your local board of elections website for details.

Now, turning to my interview with Judge Inman, let me first point out that judicial candidates are not supposed to comment on matters or issues that may come before them in a case in the future. To do so would undermine the appearance of impartiality and risk the credibility and integrity of our courts. Our courts are under attack and credibility challenges enough already. Neither Judge Inman nor I have any intention of adding to that. That said, we still had plenty to talk about with her past experiences, the twists and turns her legal career, why she’s running for the Supreme Court, and the guiding principles she uses to think through issues she faces on the bench. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed it. So without further ado, here’s my interview with Judge Lucy Inman.

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JD Wooten: With me today is Judge Lucy Inman of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. She is currently running to fill the upcoming vacancy on the North Carolina Supreme Court when Justice Robin Hudson retires at the end of the year. Welcome Judge Inman! 

Judge Inman: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate being with you.

JD Wooten: Absolutely. I am so thrilled for, for being able to do this. This is our first interview with anyone from the judiciary. So thank you so much for taking the time. And since this is a political podcast, I'd like to start in the same place I do with all my first time guests. What's your first memory of politics or being involved in the political process?

Judge Inman: Well my father was a newspaper reporter when I was very young and he covered a lot of politics. A lot of campaigns, but also political controversies. And I do remember one of the earliest candidates whose name I knew was Nick Galifianakis, and his name was so long. They had to put it on two different buckets. But my father covered the Terry Sanford campaigns in North Carolina and lots of other things. The first campaign I was ever involved in was during law school. I worked on Harvey Gantt Senate campaign. And that would have been in the late eighties, early 1990. But before I went to law school, I worked as a newspaper reporter myself so I really tried to stay apolitical 

JD Wooten: What a great set of memories. So you're a North Carolina native and product of the North Carolina public school system. Any particular memories or experiences growing up, especially in school that still really impact your thinking or judicial philosophy today?

Judge Inman: My elementary school was a neighborhood for me school. I could walk to school. And this was in the mid 1960s. Brown vs board of education had come down in 1954, North Carolina was slow to integrate the schools. And in my elementary school, in the later grades, I got to have some classmates who didn't look like me and who rode the bus for a long time to get there. And most children that age, I think, don't know about what controversies their parents may talk about. But I had some very good friends who would come and stay with me and play with me after school. And my parents would take them back home afterward and can remember some folks in our neighborhoods sort of wondering, you know, who is that?

And then when I went to junior high school, I went to J.W. Ligon Junior High in Raleigh, which had been a Black high school. And it was very controversial in the Black community that this gym of a high school had been taken from the community and turned into a junior high school. I had some of the best friendships there and some of the best teachers I've ever had. Ann Jones was my choral teacher, and I remember her talking about the assassination of Martin Luther King and leading us in songs of both grief and celebration of Dr. King. And I just don't think I would have had that experience if our schools had not been integrated. 

JD Wooten: That's fascinating set of experiences. Thank you for sharing that. So you mentioned that you started off in journalism. What led you to journalism and how long were you in that? 

Judge Inman: So I father was a newspaper reporter and I certainly grew up placing great value in newspapers and journalism, but I really didn't ever say to my parents, you know, I want to be a journalist. I went to undergraduate school at NC State. I got a degree in English, and one of my professors there said to me, and he meant it as a compliment, he said, you know, Lucy, you would be a really great journalist because you're just insecure enough that you have to ask a lot of questions. You're just uncertain enough of things that you don't accept them at face value, and you have to ask a lot of questions. And so I said well, I think I'll take that as a compliment and maybe I'll do that. And in the summers during college, I worked as an intern at a couple of small newspapers. And then at then the Raleigh Times, which was an afternoon newspaper in my last year of school, I then was hired to work there full-time after I graduated from college. 

JD Wooten: Wonderful. And I'm sure that that propensity for asking questions has followed you into your current role and hopefully this next role for you as well. 

Judge Inman: Absolutely. It was just one of the greatest jobs a new college graduate can have, because it gave me not just the permission, but the responsibility to talk to people from all walks of life. It was really, really great. 

JD Wooten: That's fantastic. So you later felt called to participate in the judicial system and made that fateful decision to go to law school. What led you to that decision? 

Judge Inman: Well, really my work as a newspaper reporter led to that at the newspaper, I like many, many, you know, brand new newspaper reporters. You know, first worked on general assignment matters on the weekends and going to obscure festivals and various other assignments often on the weekends when the more experienced staff folks had off. But then I covered crimes and emergencies, and that was really, really fascinating because in the midst of any kind of traumatic event, you learn about people. Their guard is down and you really find out some people have strengths they never knew they had. And of course we do also find in criminal cases, some weaknesses that people have that you never thought they had. And eventually I was assigned to cover court proceedings, which was a little bit like crimes in emergencies, except it was broader because it included civil disputes. And instead of the urgent sort of who, what, where, when we've got to get this down quick, the dust had settled and the questions were equally "what's the consequence of what happened?" And what do we, as a government, what do we as a society, do to respond to what's happened? And covering the courts it was just tailor made for journalism. And it was just really tailor-made for for writing. And as you know, some of the best trial lawyers are really, really great storytellers. I don't mean making up stories. I mean setting the stage and laying out the facts in a way that are, that are compelling. And I just love that. And after a couple of years of doing that, I decided I'd like to participate in that system and not continue to just write about it. 

JD Wooten: That's fascinating, especially that you had that experience and seeing that from the journalism side and then transitioned into law. So as I understand it, your first job out of law school was to serve as a clerk for then North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Jim Exum. The role of clerks has been in the news a bit lately perhaps more than usual, given the news surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court. But I think a lot of listeners may still be a little bit unfamiliar with what exactly a clerk does. So maybe you could explain for our listeners, what was your role as a clerk in Justice Exum's chambers? 

Judge Inman: My role as a clerk in Justice Exum's chambers, not that different from the role of the clerks in my own chambers now, was to read the briefs that the parties have filed, compare what the appellant and the apple Lee are arguing. Look to see where there's disagreement. And of course there is some cause there's an appeal and then focus in the record on what in the record has any bearing on what the parties are disputing on appeal. The reason that we have to look at the record carefully is because in any case with storytelling, one side can paint a picture that's very different than the other side would paint. We look and see what the record shows and see if counsel is representing facts accurately. And clerks do legal research and look at all the sources of authority for a legal opinion. And then what I did for Justice Exum and what my clerks do for me is write a bench memo, and that is for the judge or justice to review as that judge or justice is deciding what he or she things about the case, what, what that judge or justices vote is going to be. Then it would come back to the clerk often with the assignment to let's take your memo and start to transform that into the draft of an opinion. And then I would meet with justice xOM. Frequently once we had the basics covered. And when it was time for the real analysis and often at the Supreme court, these are the hardest and most hard fought cases. You won't be surprised to know that I, a law clerk right out of law school, would not be the only person to have some input on how we would handle that analysis. It was very collaborative with Chief Justice Exum and in turn it'd be very collaborative among all the justices. 

JD Wooten: So after clerking for Justice Exum, you spent nearly two decades in civil litigation. You had the chance to represent a wide range of clients during that time from small business owners, to large companies, and even survivors of negligence, fraud, sexual abuse. How do you think those experiences inform your judicial philosophy today?

Judge Inman: Well, you know, having represented clients, and I will say I was honored to represent all of my clients. I consider at least for my personality, the role of a judge is a lot less stressful than the role of an attorney. And that is because attorneys need to move mountains, on behalf of a client who really needs a result. And the whole reason that we have a legal system and we have lawyers rather than letting people fight in the street about matters is so that we have a justice system that is a little bit detached from the heat of whatever the issue is. But for your client, I'm sure you have clients like this. They respect you as a lawyer, but they just, they want a resolve. They need a result. And to me, that is that is a great, great challenge for a lawyer to balance the client's needs with the lawyers duties to be candid with the tribunal, to say to your clients sometimes I know this seems really unfair, but I've researched the law thoroughly, and we're not going to be able to prevail. You know, about the stress that I'm talking about. The way that informs my work as a judge is that I know, even though I don't see witnesses or parties, I'm really reviewing records, I know that every single case affects a real person. So I think just remembering the various clients I've represented. And also you know, I represented individuals who didn't understand how the legal process worked, it really, really helped for them to understand why a case turned out the way it did. And so when I'm writing opinions, I make it a very high priority to explain the court's reasoning so that the parties and the lawyers and other courts and the public can understand how the court reached that decision. 

JD Wooten: So Your Honor, your first role in the judiciary was to serve as a Special Superior Court Judge beginning in 2010. How did that come to be, and what led to your transition from being that private practice attorney we just talked about to serving on the bench?

Judge Inman: Well I probably had in the back of my mind ever since I clerked for chief Justice, Exum that it would be an amazing job to work as a judge someday, but I really put it out of my mind. I thought I was going to practice law in North Carolina for my entire career, but when I was clerking for Chief Justice Exum, I met and fell in love with a newspaper reporter who was going to California to go to graduate school. And we moved to Los Angeles and I practice civil litigation there for eight years. We moved back to North Carolina when we had a two-year-old and our second child was on the way, and I completely changed my practice. I had been practicing commercial litigation and media law in California, and we came back here, I practiced all plaintiff's litigation representing victims or family members of victims of preventable medical errors, catastrophic events like car crashes, and also sexual abuse and, and, and fraud. And when my older child was not four years old, I think he was frequently in my office. He loved to draw and he drew a picture of a creature that had spikes on every surface of its body. I mean, I think like the eyelashes were spikes, and the tail was spikes. And I said, Will, what do you call that creature? And he said, a litigator. And it was a reminder to me that litigators do battle. You know, we do battle in the courtroom. We want to have, and I always strive to have a professional relationship with our adversaries, but it is a lot of arguing. And I remembered around about that time you know, how wonderful it was working at an appellate court where our job was not to move a mountain, but to get it right. And I kept on practicing someone who I went to law school with, and still very good friends with today. At that time had been in the state legislature. Her name is Deborah Ross, and she suggested when a vacancy came up in a local superior court seat that I should seek appointment to that seat or to run for election for that seat. And I did seek appointment to that seat. And it was a few years before Governor Perdue appointed me to the Superior Court Bench. And I'll tell you, there's nothing like wanting to be a judge to make you a better lawyer. 

JD Wooten: So in 2014, you were elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Could you describe for non legally trained listeners a little about the difference between being a trial court judge and being on the Court of Appeals? 

Judge Inman: Sure. So the trial judge's role is probably what most people who've ever watched a television show or a movie about the justice system can relate to. The trial judge really has a front row seat to the evidence and the arguments and Is making rulings on whether evidence is admissible and making sure that the evidence is presented in a way that the jury can understand it and doing everything he or she can do to make sure that each side feels like they were treated fairly. At the appellate level, we sit in groups. At the court of appeals. There are 15 judges and we sit in panels of three. At the Supreme Court, there are seven justices and they hear cases to gather. We receive a record to read and we receive briefs to read, and we have much, much more time to review the issues at hand. And we have law clerks who help us research legal issues and research factual issues. I can't imagine a television show or a movie about the drama at the appellate court, because it would be me and my clerks reading and writing and editing and there would be some really compelling appellate arguments made. There would be great, you know, appellate arguments made and the judges and the justices would ask questions, but you'd never see a crime scene. You'd never see a victim. And that's why most people just don't know very much about the appellate court.

JD Wooten: So Your Honor, you've now been on the bench for over a decade, a lot's changed during that time, including the return to partisan judicial elections and some justices and judges have not historically been overtly active in the political process and perhaps some more of that's changed recently. And so I'm curious, over the years, have you seen a change as our judicial races have become more partisan? And how has that impacted the collegiality on the bench?

Judge Inman: I've definitely seen a change. And not for the better in my view. I was elected statewide in 2014 in a non-partisan race. And just approaching that race, I had never run for dog catcher before. And I'm a lifelong Democrat, but I didn't believe, and I still don't believe partisan politics has any place in the courtroom. So some of the first people I approached when I ran my first campaign were Republicans and Independents and folks who I knew did not share my political background. I believe that non-partisan races drive candidates toward the middle. They remind candidates that you are seeking a job where you will have a lot of authority over people of all political stripes. And that the best thing you can say for yourself is that that you will approach every case fairly and impartially and consider the facts and the law and nothing else.

When I joined the court of appeals, I worked with several judges who were senior to me, not of my political party, who were just great mentors to me. And in 99% of the cases that we decide, there's not a partisan political difference. Everybody wants people to be safe. You know, everybody thinks that violent crime is terrible. Everybody thinks that cheating someone is wrong. And when these races were made partisan in 2016, our state and our nation also became so much more politically polarized. But when I ran in 2014, I didn't run into that polarization. I really did not. And after the judicial races were made partisan, I think that political voters and political activists and political donors began to expect that judicial candidates that were aligned with their party should toe the party line for them. And it's a challenge to say to someone who you want to support your campaign. I can't promise you what you're hoping for. That just creates more of a challenge. And after I was elected in 2014, I really didn't want to be very involved in politics because I wanted everyone to trust me to be fair and impartial. But what, there has been a trend in the last few years of some judges and justices who the minute they are sworn in, send a letter to the judicial standards commission and announce that they will be a candidate in eight years. And they do that because of the provisions in the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct, there are things that a judge who's a candidate can do that a judge who's not a candidate cannot do. 

JD Wooten: I would imagine that that can create some interesting challenges. Now, your honor, for most guests, I would ask about their platform, however, as you've sort of just alluded to, and we're very good reason, judicial candidates cannot discuss issues and especially cases which might come before them in the future. I think that's an integral part of upholding the integrity of our courts and avoiding any hints that a member of the bench might be anything less than an impartial arbiter. So instead, what I'd like to do is I'd like to ask you about your judicial philosophy. What are some of the guiding principles that you use to think through issues facing you in appellate cases as they come up?

Judge Inman: So, guiding principles I really liked that phrase guiding principles. As part of judicial philosophy, you know, there are some labels for judicial philosophy. You'll hear some judges say I'm an originalist, I'm a strict constructionist, I'm a textualist. And I see those labels as really part of tools in a toolkit and the guiding principles are those tools. One guiding principle is that if a document is clear on its face, if a word, if a sentence, is clear on its face as to its meaning, then we don't look at any other evidence. We don't look at any other analysis to ask what that document means if it's clear on its face. The trouble is of course that what might look clear on its face to me might not look clear on its face to you. And we then have many other principles about what do you do if a document isn't clear and what do you look at? You look at grammar. Commas are really, really important in, in some document interpretation and the documents that we are interpreting can be a contract, can be a settlement agreement can be a search warrant a statute or the United States Constitution or the North Carolina Constitution. All of the same principles are available to interpret all of those different documents. 

Another guiding principle to me is the Latin stare decisis, which means let the decision stand. And this is the principle of following precedent and the reason that that courts follow precedent and should generally follow precedent in my view is that each judge or justice is in a position for a Court. The position is part of the institution of the court and that judge's personal views, beliefs preferences should not control what that institution does. We are a nation of laws, not a nation of judges. And the value of precedent beyond the integrity of the institution is for everyone who's affected by the court's decisions to be able to know what the rules are and know that the rules are not going to change dramatically without a very, very good reason. 

If you are a person going around about your business and you want to know what you are and aren't allowed to do in the criminal law you would not like to find out one day that walking on a certain part of your sidewalk is a crime when you had no idea. If you are a business that's thinking about moving to North Carolina and you're making plans and you're making investments, you certainly would not like to find after you made this huge commitment and this investment that the law had changed. And so that consistency I think is very valuable in precedent. There's also, however, the awareness of the court of what is happening and what are the practical matters. When the framers wrote the United States Constitution, when the framers of the North Carolina Constitution wrote it, we didn't have cell phones. We didn't have drone technology. And so there are a lot of developments in our culture that you really can't look back at a document that was written hundreds of years ago and say, clearly, that's what this document says about that. So it's, it's a balance.

JD Wooten: Well, I really appreciate all of that. Thank you so much, your honor. So before we close, is there anything else you want people to know about you or your candidacy? 

Judge Inman: I am so privileged to serve in the job that I'm serving now on the court of appeals. I was so privileged to serve as a trial court judge. I really see this work as my calling and I don't take for granted any single day, how fortunate I am to do this work. And I don't take lightly the trust and confidence that people must place in their judges. I do believe that our courts, and especially our appellate courts, are really under great threat from partisan politics. And I am running for the Supreme Court to continue my service and to protect the integrity of that Court. And I cannot promise how I will decide any case, but I can promise that I will leave politics at the courthouse steps and I will decide every case impartially, honestly, and transparently. 

JD Wooten: I don't think anyone could ask anything more, Your Honor. So now for perhaps the most important question of the day. Where can people go to learn more about you and ways to support your campaign?

Judge Inman: Oh, well I love that question. I have a website it's You can also find me on social media; on Twitter, Judge Lucy Inman and Instagram and Facebook. And on the website on my website, you can sign up to get updates about the campaign and that's not happening so much now as it will, when we get closer to the general election. But you can find out on the website a little bit more about my background and about the former justices, chief justices, and trial court judges who have endorsed my candidacy. You can also email us with any questions you have and I, or someone with my campaign should respond within 24 hours. 

The other thing I'll say is if anybody would like to meet me and like me to come to their community, I am doing my best to travel anywhere and everywhere that people want to meet me. And I want to be available to people also by the technologies that we gained through the pandemic, like Zoom to be able to answer their questions about the Court. Because the more that we can remove the mystery about what the courts do, I think the more people can really appreciate how important the courts are in our daily lives. 

JD Wooten: Well, Judge Inman, thank you so much for taking the time to be here today and for joining us. And I wish you the best. 

Judge Inman: Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

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JD Wooten: Thanks again to Judge Inman for joining me today. Links are in the show notes to learn more about her and her campaign. As always, if you or someone you know should be on the show, send me an email at And again, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and share this episode with a friend to help Judge Inman reach the largest audience possible. Together, we can achieve a better North Carolina for everyone!

Interview with Judge Lucy Inman
Closing Notes