North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) appointed Reuben Young and Christopher Brook to fill two vacancies on the 15-member state Court of Appeals. Young and Brook are both registered with the Democratic Party.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in North Carolina. The court has 15 judges who hear cases in panels of three. Judges are selected in partisan elections to serve eight-year terms. These elections were nonpartisan from 2004 until a law passed in 2016 made them partisan again, beginning in 2018.
Of the 15 judges, the breakdown of partisanship is as follows after the new appointments:
- Appointed by Democratic governor: 5
- Appointed by Republican governor: 2
- Elected Democrats: 3
- Elected Republicans: 5
Thus, the overall balance on the Court of Appeals following these appointments is 8-7 with eight judges having been either elected as Democrats or appointed by a Democratic governor.
The justices already on the court prior to Gov. Cooper’s appointments are:
- Linda McGee – Initially appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt (D)
- Wanda Bryant – Initially appointed by Gov. Mike Easley (D)
- John Arrowood – Initially appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper (D)
- Richard Dietz – Initially appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R)
- Valerie Johnson Zachary – Initially appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R)
- Donna Stroud – Elected (R)
- Hunter Murphy – Elected (R)
- John Marsh Tyson – Elected (R)
- Chris Dillon – Elected (R)
- Phil Berger, Jr. – Elected (R)
- Lucy Inman – Elected (D)
- Tony Hampson – Elected (D)
- Allegra Collins – Elected (D)
Young and Brook must run for election in 2020 to remain on the bench. Bryant, McGee, and Dillon are also up for election in 2020.
Young was the chief deputy secretary for adult corrections and juvenile justice from 2017 to 2019. Before that, he was a special superior court judge for the North Carolina Superior Courts from 2012 to 2017. Gov. Bev Perdue (D) appointed him to that position on December 31, 2012. Young also worked for the state’s Department of Justice and for Gov. Mike Easley as chief legal counsel. He received his undergraduate degree from Howard University and his J.D. from the North Carolina Central University School of Law.
Brook was the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina from 2012 to 2019. He worked as an attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice from 2008 to 2012. From 2005 to 2008, Brook was an attorney in private practice. He received his undergraduate degree and J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While in law school, Brook was a legal intern at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, director of the Carolina Law Pro Bono Program, and managing editor of the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation.