NOTE: You may vote for one. Candidates are presented below in the order they appear on your ballot.
Reason for my Endorsement: I believe it’s fair to say that if Allen beats Ervin and joins his rabidly conservative mentor Paul Newby on the court, then we’ll probably never see any unconstitutional action by the Republicans in the General Assembly overturned. While I wish there was a progressive alternative to Ervin, abortion rights, book banning, gerrymandering and voter rights are on the line and half a loaf is better than no loaf at all.
Ervin was elected as an associate justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court on November 4, 2014, winning a full term that expires on December 31, 2022. Prior to being elected to the North Carolina Supreme Court, Justice Ervin served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 2009 to 2015 and was a member of the North Carolina Utilities Commission from 1999 to 2009.
Some Democrats are conditioned to expect Judge Ervin to be a “swing” vote on the state’s high court, meaning in my book, that he can’t be counted on to issue progressive conclusions of law. I am one of those Democrats, and I wish there was a progressive alternative to Ervin.
In some cases, however, Ervin has hung resolutely with the 4-member Democratic majority on such landmark issues as the unconstitutional gerrymandering of legislative seats for the General Assembly. In August, he was the fourth vote for a decision that said the state constitution can’t be amended by lawmakers if they come from districts with borders created in a racially-gerrymandered way.
The NAACP v. Moore case was filed in November 2018 in an attempt to invalidate two constitutional amendments: one requiring a photo ID to vote and one capping the state’s income tax rate. With its new opinion, the North Carolina Supreme Court said that members of the assembly coming from districts with unconstitutional racial gerrymandering could not propose amendments to the state constitution.
Ervin’s endorsements include, among others,NC Association of Civil Defense Attorneys, the North Carolina Association of Educators, the National Association of Social Workers, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, and Equality North Carolina.
Allen was born in Robeson County. He obtained a bachelor’s degree from UNC Pembroke and a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill.
Allen began his legal career as a judge advocate in the United States Marine Corps. He spent most of his time in the USMC overseas, and his military service included a deployment to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a judge advocate, he advised commanding generals and subordinate commanders on military justice and operational law matters, prosecuted violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and helped fellow Marines resolve personal legal issues.
J.W. Williamson was the founding editor in 1972 of the Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review, which he edited until July of 2000. He has taught college classes in Appalachian history, cultural politics, and literature, and he has lectured widely on the pop-culture history of "Appalachia" in the American consciousness. His books include Interviewing Appalachia, Southern Mountaineers in Silent Films, and Hillbillyland: What the Mountains Did to the Movies and What the Movies Did to the Mountains. He has won the Thomas Wolfe Award given by the Western North Carolina Historical Society, the Laurel Leaves Award given by the Appalachian Consortium, a special Weatherford Award given by Berea College, and the Cratis Williams-James Brown Award given by the Appalachian Studies Association.
The views expressed on WataugaWatch are solely those of J.W. Williamson or individual contributors and are not necessarily shared nor endorsed by the Watauga County Democratic Party nor by any other adults of sound mind in this or any other universe.