successor to Gary Locklear, who retired last week as a Superior Court
judge in Robeson County. While we don't know who Easley favors, we do
know that the selection will create another judicial vacancy, on
That's because Easley — unless he passes the baton to Gov.-elect
Beverly Perdue — will decide between District Court judges Greg Bell
and John Carter, both of whom are wholly qualified. Unfortunately, as
is all but guaranteed when it comes to Robeson County, race has
tainted the process.
Some argue that Bell, an American Indian, should replace Locklear
because an American Indian has always held this judicial seat, and if
that changes then there will be no American Indian judges presiding in
Superior Court in North Carolina. Others argue that Carter, who is
black, has a longer and more impressive resume.
The judgeship was created for a minority during the turbulent times of
the late 1980s in Robeson County, and in that respect both Bell and
Carter qualify. They also qualify because both are able and
Our hope is that Easley picks the person he deems most qualified, and
with Easley's political career nearing a finish line, the odds that
competence will trump skin color are better because the governor is
unencumbered by election-day worries.
The obvious candidate for the vacated District Court judgeship, which
will be filled by Perdue, is Jeff Moore, who recently was denied a
fourth term on the bench by Judith Milsap Daniels, who was sworn in as
a District Court judge on Friday. Some have argued that Moore should
not return to the bench because voters rejected him during the
November general election.
While this is not an endorsement, we reject that argument as flawed.
Moore was elected three times before being defeated by Daniels, who
surely benefited from a large turnout of blacks anxious to elect
Barack Obama as the nation's president. Additionally, there are plenty
of Robesonians who favor Moore for a judgeship as he received about
17,000 votes during the November election.
So, while we don't know how this hand will unfold, Easley has two
strong candidates for Superior Court, and his successor, Perdue, has a
strong candidate for District Court.