Name as it appears on the ballot: Brad Salmon
Party affiliation: Democratic
Campaign website: judgebradsalmon.com
Occupation & employer: District Court Judge/State of North Carolina
1) Please tell us what in your record as a public official or private citizen demonstrates your ability to be effective, fair, and impartial on the bench? Please be specific. What do you believe qualifies you to serve as a Court of Appeals or Supreme Court judge?
I believe I would bring a unique set of qualifications and experiences to our NC Court of Appeals. I was born and raised on a multi-generational family farm in rural Harnett County. I was a founding partner in a small-town law firm in Lillington. At the Salmon Law Firm, I had a diverse practice that consisted of criminal law, civil law and administrative matters. Also, I represented clients as an appointed attorney for our District 11A Veterans Treatment Court as well as a parent’s attorney for DSS Court. My practice was nearly exclusive to State District and Superior Courts. In 2014, I was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly. I represented the people of Lee and Harnett Counties in the 51st House District and learned a great deal about the complex environment in which laws are made. In the fall of last year, I was chosen by my peers and colleagues to be a District Court Judge and was ultimately appointed last November. Since then, I have presided daily over criminal and civil matters in our District 11 Judicial District. If elected to our Court of Appeals, I will bring experience as a practicing attorney, former lawmaker and sitting trial judge.
2) How do you define yourself politically? How does that impact your judicial approach?
I am a registered Democrat and I define myself politically as a moderate. I take pride in viewing all issues through multiple lenses and trying to find balance among competing viewpoints.
My political affiliation does not influence my job as a District Court Judge nor would it impact my decisions should I be elected to the NC Court of Appeals. My belief is that the sacred role of a Judge should be above the fray of political winds.
3) What do you believe are the three most important qualities a judge must have to be an effective jurist? Which judges, past or present, do you most admire? Why?
I believe that the three most important qualities that a Judge should possess are 1) even temperament, 2) ability to be fair, and 3) impartiality.
The Judges that I admire most are Judge Gerald Arnold and Justice John Marshall Harlan. Former Chief Judge of the NC Court of Appeals Gerald Arnold has always been my mentor and friend. He is a fellow Harnett County native and has long been a person I greatly admire. He is balanced, possesses a keen legal acumen, and has the highest sense of integrity.
John Marshall Harlan was the great dissenter in Plessy v. Furguson (1896). He asserted that separate could never be equal. His courage and foresight was a testament to the power of our judicial system. His dissent paved the way for Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and an improved, more just society.
4) In a sentence, how would you define your judicial philosophy?
My Judicial philosophy is simply to follow the law and established precedent.
5) Do you favor or oppose public financing of judicial elections? What changes to North Carolina’s system of judicial elections do you believe are necessary, if any?
I favor the idea of public financing for judicial elections. It is counter to the idea of a free and fair justice system for Judges to have to solicit money from those parties who may well have an interest in cases that should come before them.
An easy change to our system of judicial elections in NC would be to return to non-partisan elections. This would be a good start to help curtail the erosion of public confidence in the fairness of our Courts.
6) In many cases, voters know very little about the judges they are electing. Tell us something about yourself that our readers may be surprised to learn.
This was a tough question for me in that I do not find myself all that interesting. I was a fifth-grade tutor at Boone Trail Elementary School the year after I finished my undergraduate studies. This was special because not only did I go to school there, but my mother was teaching there and nearing the end of her 33 year tenure as a kindergarten teacher. I worked in Mr. McMillan’s class and learned so much about the hard work and dedication our teachers have. It is a profession that is not glamorous or lucrative, but essential to the functioning of our society. That year I learned that the classroom wasn’t for me, but I gained a full understanding of the importance that quality teachers play in the lives of students. I still see students who were in our class today and it is beyond special to know that I played some small role in their lives.
7) What sets you apart from the other candidate in this race?
I believe I bring a unique set of experience. I grew up, worked on, and am still a part of our family farm. I have hands on experience as a small-town attorney having handled a wide variety of legal issues. I have been an elected Representative in our State House where I have seen the environment of the law-making process. Also, I have the experience of being a sitting trial court judge. Together, this gives me a perspective that would be beneficial to North Carolinians as a Judge on our Court of Appeals.
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