ENC Today - N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Candidate Visits Kinston
North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert Edmunds Jr., brought his re-election campaign to Kinston Tuesday, which heads to Union County next week.
A Danville, Va., native, Edmunds moved to Greensboro in 1958. He graduated in 1975 from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, with a Juris Doctor Degree. Edmunds later graduated in 2004 from The University of Virginia School of Law, with a Masters of Law in the Judicial Process.
For the past eight years, Edmunds has served as an associate justice on the state's highest court. He faces challenger Suzanne Reynolds of Winston-Salem for the state Supreme Court seat he currently holds.
"I hope voters will compare the qualities of the candidates," Edmunds said. "The main thing in this race is experience and I have an established track record."
One challenge that Edmunds says he faces in the election is "breaking through the clutter" of candidates vying for seats in other statewide races.
"Campaigning has its difficulties," he said. "The public usually asks us exactly what we do."
On average, the N.C. Supreme Court hears 120 cases each year. The court works as a collective body to make constitutional decisions. Before each case, a brief is read and oral arguments are presented, Edmunds said.
After oral arguments, a seven-member Supreme Court justice panel meets in a conference room where one member writes an opinion on a presented case. The justices then discuss and review the opinion, Edmunds said.
"It's a highly interactive process," he said. "We usually hear about four cases a day. It's not a job for beginners."
Edmunds is a board-certified specialist in state and federal criminal law and in criminal appellate practice. From 1999 to 2000, he served as a judge for the N.C. Court of Appeals. Edmunds has also received a certificate of appreciation from the Drug Enforcement Administration for "outstanding contributions in the field of drug law enforcement."
The campaign trail has provided Edmunds with several lighter moments, including his participation in a cow-milking contest.
"I finished in the top five out of the five contestants," he said. "Everyone always asks me how I finished."