Cheri Beasley

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Cheri Beasley
Court Information:
North Carolina Supreme Court
Title:   Associate Justice
Position:   Seat 7
Salary:  $140,285
Appointed by:   Gov. Bev Perdue
Active:   2012-2022
Preceded by:   Patricia Timmons-Goodson
Past post:   Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals
Past term:   2008-2012
Past post 2:   Judge, North Carolina 12th Judicial District
Past term 2:   1999-2008
Personal History
Born:   2/14/1966
Party:   Democratic
Undergraduate:   Rutgers University, 1988
Law School:   University of Tennessee College of Law, 1991
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Supreme Court
Position:  Beasley Seat
State:  North Carolina
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  Yes
Election date:  11/4/2014
Election vote:  50.1%ApprovedA

Cheri Beasley is an associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. She was appointed by Governor Bev Perdue on December 12, 2012, to replace Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, who retired on December 17, 2012. Beasley was sworn in on January 3, 2013.[1][2][3] Beasley ran for re-election to the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2014, winning a full term expiring on December 31, 2022.[4][5]

When Beasley was elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2008, she became the first black woman to be elected to any statewide office in North Carolina without being first appointed by a governor.[6][7]



For in-depth coverage of the state's high court races, see: North Carolina Supreme Court elections, 2014
See also: North Carolina judicial elections, 2014
Beasley ran for re-election to the North Carolina Supreme Court.
General: She defeated Michael L. Robinson in the general election on November 4, 2014, receiving 50.1 percent of the vote.[4]


  • North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • North Carolina Association of Educators
  • North Carolina AFL-CIO
  • North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
  • North Carolina Police Benevolent Association
  • North Carolina Troopers Association
  • National Organization of Women (NOW)
  • North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police
  • Durham Committee
  • People's Alliance of Durham
  • Black Political Caucus of Charlotte
  • Gov. Jim Hunt
  • Wilmington Journal
  • The African American Caucus of NC Democratic Party
  • Winston-Salem Chronicle
  • Concord Professional Fire Fighters Association
  • NC Advocates for Justice PAC
  • Independent Weekly
  • Durham Committee of the Affairs of Black People
  • Durham People's Alliance PAC
  • Robeson County BPC
  • Eastside Political Action Committee—Charlotte
  • Transylvania Times
  • North Carolina Advocates for Justice
  • North Carolina Educators Association[8]

Political affiliation

Because North Carolina's judicial elections are nonpartisan, candidates do not run on party lines. However, the political leanings of the state's supreme court justices are widely known. Beasley is regarded as a Democrat by various news sources and has been supported by the Forsyth County Democratic Party in the past.[9][10][11][12]


Beasley was elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals on November 4, 2008, defeating incumbent Doug McCullough with 57.4 percent of the vote.[13]

During her election campaign, Beasley gave the following statement in an interview with Indy Week:

My entire career as a judge has been spent making fair and impartial decisions in the lives of families and others in our communities. It is imperative that we elect judges who are proficient in family and juvenile law and whose family and civic involvement is consistent with the responsibilities of the office. Fairness and integrity are the essence of high standards in court, in my family, and in my community involvement. Making sure that justice is truly accessible to all people is my commitment.[14][15]


Beasley was re-elected, without opposition, to the 12th District Court on November 7, 2006.[16]


Beasley was elected to a full term on the 12th District Court on November 5, 2002. She defeated Mike Boose with 63.7 percent of the vote.[17]


Beasley received her B.A. in political science and economics (concentrations in accounting and finance) from Rutgers University/Douglass College in 1988. She went on to receive her J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1991, after spending a summer at the University of Oxford in England.[2][18]


Supreme court appointment controversy

Beasley's appointment to the state's high court sparked some controversy, since the appointment was made by former Governor Bev Perdue without the advice of the North Carolina Judicial Nominating Commission.

When Timmons-Goodson announced her retirement, the commission told outgoing Governor Perdue that they would not be able to vet candidates for the vacancy before the end of her term. An executive order placed by Perdue in 2011 required her to choose court appointments from a list of candidates provided by the commission. However, she decided to bypass the commission and make the appointment herself before her time as governor ran out.

Some decried Perdue's decision as a political move, since she was a Democrat and the newly-elected (at that time) Governor Pat McCrory was a Republican. Sen. Phil Berger, a Republican, stated, "It is increasingly clear that Gov. Perdue’s creation of the judicial screening commission was nothing short of a deceitful political charade."[19] Others defended the Governor's right to appoint justices to court vacancies with or without the commission, as provided by Article IV, Section 19 of the state's constitution.[20]

Awards and associations


  • 2009-Present: Tenth Judicial District Bar and Wake County Bar Association
  • 1995-Present: North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
  • 1994-Present: Cumberland County Bar Association
  • 1994-Present: Fayetteville Bench & Bar (Founder and First President)
  • 1994-Present: National Bar Association
  • 1994-Present: North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers
  • 1993-Present: North Carolina Bar Association
  • 1993-Present: American Bar Association
  • 2012: Appellate Advocacy CLE presenter, North Carolina Bar Association
  • 2012: Henry Toll Fellow, Council on State Governments
  • 2005-2008: Presenter on "Judicial Philosophy," New Judges’ School for District Court Judges
  • 1999-2008: North Carolina Association of District Court Judges
  • 2006-2007: Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA)
  • 1994-2000: Young Lawyers of Cumberland County
  • 1996-1999: North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • 1994-1999: Cumberland County Association of Defense Attorneys
  • 1996-1998: Teen Court Judge, Cumberland County Dispute Resolution
  • 1994-1996: Capital City Lawyers Association[3][18]


  • 2007-Present: The Women’s Forum of North Carolina
  • 2001-Present: 555th Parachute Infantry Association, Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg Chapter
  • 1999-Present: Tutorial Program, First Baptist Church
  • 1998-Present: Junior League of Fayetteville
  • 1997-Present: NAACP Subscribing Life Member
  • 2007-2010: NETWORTH
  • 2004-2009: Board of Directors, Cape Fear Regional Theater
  • 2006-2008: Fayetteville State University Community Advisory Council
  • 2005-2008: Women’s Center of Fayetteville
  • 1998-2001: Fayetteville Museum of Art Board of Trustees
  • 1997: Assistant Girl Scout Leader, First Baptist Church
  • 1996-1997: City of Fayetteville Zoning Commission[3][18]

Judicial philosophy

The following information is gathered from an interview Cheri Beasley did in 2008 with the online news publication Indy Week while campaigning for election to the Court of Appeals. The full interview is available here.

Immigration: Beasley was asked about laws in several North Carolina counties which enhanced the enforcement of immigration laws, but which critics said allowed for police to arrest non-citizens for petty crimes and then send them to deportation hearings. She replied, "The premise behind this law is that many of the illegal persons in our state are committing crimes and using services without paying for them." However, she went on to explain that the law should also consider whether or not a non-citizen is making a contribution to their community. She explained, "The problem with the application of the law occurs when illegal immigrants who commit minor offenses such as traffic offenses, are indeed gainfully employed, are making contributions to their adopted communities, and there is a public outcry for the illegal immigrant to remain in the community."

Interpretation of law: Beasley stated, in response to a question about mandatory minimum sentencing laws, "Any discretion judges possess in sentencing is created by the legislature."

States' rights: Beasley stated, "When the U.S. Supreme Court renders decisions about federal law, those decisions are binding on state court judges. However, appellate court judges are not bound by the federal courts on questions of state law."

Drug courts, mental-health courts and alternative sentencing: Beasley is in favor of including substance abuse treatment in sentences. She also supports dispute resolution between parties as an alternative to court rulings.

Public financing for judicial races: Beasley voiced her support for public financing of judicial elections, saying that it puts the candidates on a level playing field and "dissuades candidates from receiving contributions from interest groups."[14]

See also

External links


  1. SGR Today, "N.C. Supreme Court Justice Sarah Parker Swears In New Justice Cheri Beasley," January 3, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Progressive Pulse, "Perdue appoints Court of Appeals Judge Cheri Beasley to N.C. Supreme Court," December 12, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The North Carolina Court System, "Official biography of Cheri Beasley"
  4. 4.0 4.1 North Carolina Board of Elections, "State Board of Elections, Candidates Grouped by Contest, November 4, 2014 General Election," accessed March 21, 2014
  5. Judicial selection in North Carolina
  6. Cheri Beasley's campaign website, "Biography," archived December 18, 2013
  7. On Being A Black Lawyer, "Judge Cheri Beasley appointed to the N.C. Supreme Court," December 13, 2012
  8. Justice Cheri Beasley for NC Supreme Court, "Endorsements," accessed August 20, 2014
  9. Forsyth County Democratic Party, "Meet Justice Cheri Beasley"
  10. WECT Channel 6, "Judge Ola Lewis to run for State Supreme Court," June 21, 2013
  11. News Observer, "Beasley to run for Court of Appeals," January 16, 2008
  12. John Davis Consulting, "NC Supreme Court: 4 of 7 Seats Up in 2014. Rule #5: Lose the courts, lose the war," February 10, 2013
  13. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2008 General Election Results, Court of Appeals Judge (McCullough Seat)"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Indy Week, "Cheri Beasley - Candidate Questionnaire," October 8, 2008
  15. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  16. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2006 General Election Results, District Court Judge (Beasley) District 12"
  17. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2002 General Election Results, D CT Judge(12) (Beasley)"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Cheri Beasley for NC Supreme Court, "Career," archived December 18, 2013
  19. WRAL, "Perdue appoints Beasley to Supreme Court," December 12, 2012
  20. Associated Press via ABC Local, "Perdue to appoint state supreme court judge," November 29, 2012

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