Patricia Timmons-Goodson

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Patricia Timmons-Goodson
Court Information:
North Carolina Supreme Court
Title:   Former justice
Appointed by:   Gov. Mike Easley
Active:   2006-12/17/2012
Succeeded by:   Cheri Beasley
Past post:   North Carolina Court of Appeals
Past term:   1997-2006
Past position:   Judge
Personal History
Born:   September 18, 1954
Party:   Democratic
Undergraduate:   UNC-Chapel Hill, 1972
Law School:   UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, 1979

Patricia Timmons-Goodson was an associate justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court. She was appointed to the court by former Governor Mike Easley on February 1, 2006 and retired on December 17, 2012.[1]


Timmons-Goodson received from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in speech in 1972 and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Law in 1979.[2]


After graduating from law school, Timmons-Goodson was a District Manager for the United States Census. In 1981, she became Assistant District Attorney for the Twelfth Prosecutorial District where she served until becoming Staff Attorney for Lumbee River Legal Services. In 1984, she was elected to the 12th District Court. Timmons-Goodson was on this court until appointed by Governor James Hunt to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 1997. She was appointed on February 1, 2006 to the North Carolina Supreme Court.[3]

Awards and associations


  • 2010: Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill[4]
  • Order of the Long Leaf Pine
  • Gwyneth B. Davis Award, North Carolina Assocation of Educators
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Johnson C. Smith University


  • Co-Editor, The Judges' Journal, American Bar Association
  • Former Vice-President, North Carolina Bar Association
  • Co-Host and Co-Producer, "Dimensions of Justice" TV program[3]


Governor Perdue to appoint Timmons-Goodson's replacement

Some controversy has arisen over outgoing Governor Bev Perdue's decision to appoint a Supreme Court justice before the end of her term. Due to Justice Timmons-Goodson's upcoming retirement, the Governor is allowed to appoint a replacement who will serve until the next general election in 2014. An executive order placed by Gov. Perdue in 2011 requires her to choose court appointments from a list of candidates provided by the North Carolina Judicial Nominating Commission. However, the commission told the Governor that they did not have enough time to vet candidates before she left office. So, the Governor is planning to select and appoint the new justice herself.

Because Governor Bev Perdue is a Democrat and the Governor-elect, Pat McCrory, is a Republican, some are concerned that bypassing the nominating commission is a political move. Perdue is likely to appoint a Democratic successor for Justice Timmons-Goodson, herself a Democrat. Others say that it is the Governor's constitutional right to appoint justices to Supreme Court vacancies.[5]

UPDATE: On December 12, 2012, Gov. Perdue appointed Judge Cheri Beasley to the Supreme Court vacancy.[6]

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Timmons-Goodson received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.58, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of -0.01 that justices received in North Carolina. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[7]

External links