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Rocky Mount Telegram - Edmunds Campaigns to Keep His Court Seat

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Rocky Mount Telegram - Edmunds Campaigns to Keep His Court Seat

Eric Klamut

During an election year with so many high-profile races, it may be easy for some voters to glance over lesser known contests.

N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Edmunds Jr. said he has been actively campaigning to get the word out and retain his seat on the N.C. Supreme Court.

The lone N.C. Supreme Court justice up for re-election this year, Edmunds, 59, a first-term associate justice of Greensboro, said he is running on his tenure and legal background.

Edmunds will face Suzanne Reynolds, 59, a Wake Forest University law professor and a noted family law expert.

In a Telegram interview Friday, he talked candidly about his career and the importance of keeping experience on the seven-member court.

"I think I've done pretty good at it," Edmunds said. "With an incumbent, people know what they're getting. Serving on the highest court in North Carolina is not an entry-level job."

A lawyer and former N.C. Court of Appeals judge, Edmunds was elected to the N.C. Supreme Court in 2001.

N.C. Supreme Court justices serve an eight-year term and are elected in nonpartisan races.

Edmunds said most people don't think of court decisions as affecting their everyday lives. He noted that in the last month, the court has handled two capital murder cases, a state lottery case and two education cases.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, former assistant district attorney in Guilford County and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, Edmunds said because of his legal background and 10 years as a judge, he believes he is the best choice for the seat.

"I‘ve tried to do each job the best I could and not treat it as a stepping stone," he said. "I call on all of my experience during my work."

Edmunds is endorsed by 89 of North Carolina's 100 sheriff's, including Nash County Sheriff Dick Jenkins and Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight.

He also has garnered endorsements from U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, the N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys, the N.C. Fraternal Order of Police and the N.C. Troopers Association.

In response to comments made by Reynolds regarding the increasing number of family law cases the N.C. Supreme Court is faced with, Edmunds said family law is no bigger than any other branch of the law.

"If it needs looking at, why are we not getting any feedback?" Edmunds said.

Reynolds also commented in media reports that the N.C. Supreme Court has not been doing its job in the number of opinions it has written.

Edmunds said because the court strives to stay current, the N.C. Supreme Court limits its case load to about 125 cases per year.

Because N.C. Supreme Court justices are elected on a nonpartisan basis, Edmunds said he believes this aspect has given him an opportunity to reach out further to the public.

"It's tough to run statewide," Edmunds said. "But you meet the people and see the state."


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