PAC Pulse: Evaluating Judicial Candidates in a Changing Environment

Judicial races, especially for seats on the NC Supreme Court, will be among the most important races this election cycle. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked. In an effort to better inform you, the NCMS PAC Board of Directors will endorse judicial candidates before early voting begins on October 23.

In the past decade, in part due to changes in campaign finance laws, campaigns for the NC Supreme Court have dramatically changed.

Starting this election cycle, candidates will have to raise their own campaign funds. They will no longer have the option of financing their campaigns with taxpayer dollars. Enormous resources are required to promote a candidate’s background, experience and judicial philosophy to voters in a statewide election. Now candidates must raise all the money required from individual donors. Judicial candidates also are limited because they are not allowed to say how they would rule on cases that could come before the Supreme Court.

There are, though, other groups that distribute information about candidates without the candidate’s permission. In fact, it is illegal for these groups to coordinate with candidate campaigns. Independent expenditure groups, or super PACs, can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in favor of or opposition to a candidate. Usually, super PAC’s campaign material is more visible than a candidate’s, but is highly partisan and occasionally misleading.

In an objective and nonpartisan way, the NCMS PAC will evaluate and endorse candidates for the NC Supreme Court. These endorsements will reflect candidates whose education, background and judicial philosophies best reflect the priorities and objectives of the NCMS.

These endorsements will be published before early voting begins on October 23 and will be revealed first to PAC Pulse subscribers. If you would like to receive this information before the general membership, contact Will Barnett at for more information.

In races this significant, it is important to have good information from a trusted source. We hope you will weigh our endorsements strongly when making your choice and discussing candidates with your colleagues.


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