Name as it appears on the ballot:  Jessica M. Major

Age:  38

Party affiliation:  Democrat

Campaign website: 

Occupation & employer:  Attorney, Self-employed

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 District Court judge?

For approximately the last two years I have served on the Durham Board of Adjustment. This is a quasi-judicial board that makes decisions on applications by Durham property owners for minor special use permits and variances. Throughout my time on the Board, when I have participated in making a determination about a case, I have tried to ensure that the record reflects the findings necessary to support the Board’s conclusion, I have listened attentively while BOTH the applicant and any opposition present their case to the Board, and I have made decisions that I believe were supported by the law and facts presented. This is a volunteer position. I treat this role with the utmost of importance and know that I will do the same when elected.

I believe that I am qualified to serve as a district court judge because I have over a decade of legal experience in the courtroom. I have dedicated myself to becoming the best trial attorney that I can be. I have expanded my education beyond law school to include extensive trainings by some of the most prestigious trial training programs in the country. I have also obtained a legal masters in trial advocacy. These trainings are in addition to the continuing legal education courses that I take each year to maintain my law license.

2. How do you define yourself politically? How does that impact your judicial approach?

I define myself as a progressive Democrat. I believe that this will impact my judicial approach by allowing me to apply the law with a mindset towards rendering decisions that are equitable and fair to the individuals who come before me.

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 must have to be an effective jurist are: (1) knowledge of the law; (2) the ability to treat all people with dignity and respect; and (3) wisdom.

I most admire United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls. The reason I admire these two jurists is the same. They are both brilliant minds and they could have easily practiced exclusively in private practice for profit. However, they both chose to serve their communities through the cases they litigated and again by serving as justices.

4. In a sentence, how would you define your judicial philosophy?  

My judicial philosophy is that the law should be combined with grace and mercy to render decisions.

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 oppose public financing of judicial elections. While I understand the benefits of public financing of elections, I believe that there are far too many greater needs of state financial resources than funding candidates.

I believe that North Carolina should appoint, and not elect, judges. To some degree this process occurs already when there is a vacancy. This allows judges to freely do their job without worry of backlash from political groups.

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.

My mother was in the army when she was pregnant with me. I was born in Germany and came to the United States when I was one year old. I still have my first passport with my baby photo on it.

7. What sets you apart from the other candidates in this race?

What sets me apart from the other candidate in this race is my commitment to learning the law; my ability to treat everyone like a human being first; and the way in which I understand, from my years of practice, the real life impact all cases have on individuals’ lives.