Name as it appears on the ballot: Sabra Jean Faires
Campaign Website: sabrajeanfairesforjustice.com
Phone Number: 919-481-2785
Occupation and Employer: Attorney; Of Counsel at Bailey & Dixon, LLP
Party Affiliation: Unaffiliated
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? These might include career or community service—please be specific.
“But for my lawsuit, Faires v. State Board of Elections, there would be no primary for the NC Supreme Court and the voters would have no choice. I brought that lawsuit to preserve the independence of the judiciary and I won. I have a demonstrated commitment to fairness and impartiality.”
2. How do you define yourself politically, and how will your political and legal philosophies affect your performance on the bench?
I am an unaffiliated voter. I am running to get politics out of our highest court. I pledge to make decisions based on the law and not on whether the decision furthers the agenda of a political party.
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?
The top qualities for an effective jurist are analytical ability, impartiality, and respect. I particularly admire Earl Warren and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Earl Warren’s court issued Brown v. Bd. of Education and Miranda, among others, that established or advanced rights we take for granted today. Holmes was a renowned legal scholar and great writer who was nominated by Teddy Roosevelt with little regard for partisan politics. His opinions are among the most quoted.
4. The INDY’s mission is to help build a more just community in the Triangle. How would your election help further that goal?
An impartial judiciary that is free of political influence is fundamental to democracy. My commitment to fairness and impartiality would help ensure that the Supreme Court is not a rubber stamp for the policies of the NC General Assembly.
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I favor public financing of judicial races and the reinstatement of the public financing laws that were repealed in 2013. I favor some form of appointment based on merit selection. Money spent by third-party interest groups plays an increasingly important and negative role in judicial elections. The skill set for campaigning and for serving as a justice are not the same. The goal is to have a good judge, not a good campaigner.
6. Given the proliferation of technology, do you perceive a conflict government surveillance and the need for individual privacy? If elected, how would you weigh those competing interests in cases that came before you?
Yes. I perceive a clear tension between government surveillance and individual privacy fueled by the modern capability to track activities electronically. The 4th Amendment is the bulwark against unreasonable searches and seizures. As in any case, the facts would be measured against the law and the constitution.
7. 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.
I represented the Watauga Voting Rights Task Force in its successful effort to keep an early voting site on the Appalachian State University Campus.