North Carolina judicial elections at all levels are officially non-partisan. The trend towards non-partisan judicial elections started in 1996 with superior court judges, continued in 2001 with district court judges, and culminated with appellate level (both Court of Appeals and Supreme Court) judges and justices in 2002. The North Carolina Board of Elections sends out the General Election Judicial Voter Guide to every resident.
I got the 2014 edition in the mail today. I’m reading through the candidates for the various seat on the Court of Appeals and I came across a name that struck a bell – Mark A. Davis. It noted that he was appointed to the Court of Appeals by former Gov. Beverly Perdue (D-NC) and had served as a Special Deputy Attorney General and General Counsel to the Governor. It hit me and a quick check showed I was correct.
Mark Davis was the lead attorney for the State of North Carolina in Bateman v. Perdue. He was the man charged with defending North Carolina’s law that stated, during times of officially declared emergency, off-premises possession of a firearm was banned. Put another way, it was his job to keep North Carolinians defenseless when they were at their most vulnerable. Fortunately, he failed.
Davis makes note of all his endorsements by former judges and by groups such as the Advocates for Justice and the NC Association of Educators. Advocates for Justice used to be named the NC Academy of Trial Lawyers which is an organization of primarily plaintiffs attorneys. Davis notes that the judges that endorsed him are both Republicans and Democrats. Frankly, I don’t care.
What I care about is not having a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals that wrote something so dismissive of my Second Amendment rights as did Davis in his Reply in Response to Motion. The State of North Carolina had filed a Motion to Dismiss which drew a Memorandum in Opposition from Alan Gura. Davis started off his response to Gura with this.
Plaintiffs’ Response Brief is most notable for its refusal to even acknowledge the substantial
governmental interest in placing restrictions on the carrying of guns in public. Guns are designed
to injure or kill, and possession of a gun poses a real risk of death or serious bodily harm to others
– that is, in fact, the very purpose of a gun. Consequently, the State’s interest in imposing
appropriate restrictions on the carrying of guns outside of one’s premises is even stronger than the
State’s well-recognized interests in establishing reasonable limits on First Amendment and other
constitutional rights, the exercise of which carry far less potential for death and destruction.
While Heller notes some similarities between the First Amendment and the Second
Amendment, there is one major and obvious difference between the two. Unlike even the most
hateful and offensive speech, guns are capable of inflicting violent bodily injury and death. In order
to protect citizens from the risks of gun-related violence, States must be given reasonable latitude
to set limits on the carrying of firearms in public, and this governmental interest is at its greatest
during a state of emergency.
As most people know, Judge Malcolm Howard rejected the state’s argument and declared the Emergency Powers statutes unconstitutional as they burdened the Second Amendment.
I can’t say that Mark Davis was appointed by former Gov. Perdue to the Court of Appeals based upon this case. However, given that he served as her General Counsel during her last two years of office, I think it is safe to say his appointment was a reward for good service to her. His appointment came as she was about to leave office.
Davis says he will bring “good old-fashioned North Carolina values to the Court of Appeals.” Working to suppress my Constitutional rights is not a North Carolina value insofar as I’m concerned. It is for that reason I urge a vote for his opponent Judge Paul Holcombe.