Name as it appears on the ballot: Trey Allen
Party affiliation: Republican
Campaign website: www.treyallennc.com
Occupation & employer: General Counsel, North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts
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 Supreme Court judge?
I have spent a significant part of my 22-year legal career in positions that have required me to offer impartial legal opinions to public officials without regard to party affiliation. In 2013, I joined the faculty at the School of Government (SOG) at UNC Chapel Hill. Public officials throughout the state – including judges – rely on SOG professors to provide accurate, thorough, and unbiased legal opinions on important aspects of North Carolina law. I received tenure and a distinguished term associate professorship for my teaching, scholarship, and advising. In January 2021, I took leave from the SOG to serve as the General Counsel for the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. Judges, clerks of court, and magistrates routinely turn to the attorneys in my office for unbiased legal guidance in criminal and civil cases. We give legal advice based on the facts and the law, not our personal political views.
Because of the wide range of cases that it hears, the North Carolina Supreme Court needs Justices with the kind of broad legal experience that I have been fortunate enough to accumulate. I began my legal career as a judge advocate in the US Marine Corps, prosecuting crimes, advising commanders, and helping Marines with their personal legal problems. Upon returning to civilian life, I clerked for a Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court and then practiced law and became a partner at a Raleigh law firm. While in private practice, I litigated constitutional law cases and other civil cases in state court and federal court. As noted above, I later joined the faculty at the SOG and now serve as the top lawyer for our state’s court system.
2) How do you define yourself politically? How does that impact your judicial approach?
My political opinions have no bearing on how I would decide cases as a Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court. I would always rule in accordance with my best understanding of the facts and the law.
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?
Most obviously, judges must have the intellect and experience necessary to understand and apply the law in complex cases. Good judges also display integrity and a firm commitment to fairness. Integrity enables judges to follow the law even when doing so requires them to reach outcomes that they don’t like or that subject them to public criticism or unpopularity. A firm commitment to fairness helps ensure that our courtrooms are places where justice is done.
I admire Justice Robert Jackson. Although he was the last member of the US Supreme Court not to have obtained a law degree, he is the only person who has served as Solicitor General, Attorney General, and as a Supreme Court Justice. His opinions on freedom of conscience, separation of powers, and many other constitutional principles are legal classics that have had a huge impact on the law’s development. As America’s chief prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, he did much to establish the principle that leaders may be punished for launching wars of aggression.
4) In a sentence, how would you define your judicial philosophy?
Judges should remain faithful to our federal and state constitutions, base their decisions solely on the facts and the law, and provide equal justice under law for all North Carolinians.
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?
These questions concern policy issues that belong properly to the legislative branch.
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 service in the US Marine Corps included a tour of duty in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
7) What sets you apart from the other candidate in this race?
A growing number of people think that Justices on the North Carolina Supreme Court base their decisions on partisan political considerations. I am running because I want to restore the public’s trust in our state’s highest court as an impartial body that administers justice according to law. If elected, I will never allow my political opinions to influence my rulings.
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