Full Legal Name: Robin Hudson
Party: Non-partisan election
Date of Birth: 2/20/1952
Mailing address: P.O. Box 12987, Raleigh, NC 27605
Campaign Web Site: robinhudson.org
Occupation & Employer: Justice, NC Supreme Court; attorney
Years lived in Durham: 1984- 88, practiced law in Durham 1986-2001
Work Phone: (919) 621-3102
1. If you have made pledges, taken positions or otherwise commented on how you might rule in office, what are your top three priorities or issues of concern for the coming term?
My top three priorities are:
1. To continue to uphold my oath as Justice on the Court, deciding all issues fairly and impartially, and bringing no political or personal agenda to the judicial process.
2 – To continue to provide North Carolinians with sound reasoning and solid legal scholarship, and to continue to write opinions that are clear and useful to the bar and the public.
3 – To continue to help educate lawyers and the public about the law and the judicial process. I will continue to speak and teach around the state as I have done for most of my 38 years as a lawyer and a judge.
2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the bench? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
My career includes 38 years of legal experience. I was elected to the NC Supreme Court in 2006, and to the NC Court of Appeals in 2000; becoming the first woman elected to the appellate bench without being appointed first. I have decided more than 3,000 cases on appeal.
3. The INDY’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
The hallmark of a just community is fairness in its civic life. In my nearly eight years on the Supreme Court and six on the Court of Appeals, I have focused on making the fair decision in every case, no matter how difficult. I am committed to continuing to use my many years of experience as a lawyer and appellate judge for the benefit of all North Carolinians and in the service of an effective system of justice.
4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
It is the job of a judge to apply the law as written by the legislature, and within the constraints of the North Carolina and United States Constitutions. That’s a different job than that of elected officials in the political branches of government — the legislative and executive — who take stands on issues and create the law that we judges must apply. My approach in every case is to bring no political or personal agenda; as a judge, my job is to apply the law fairly, not to do what is popular. I do not believe it is our job as judges to read words into laws that were not written by the legislature, nor to read words out that are plainly there. My commitment is to always be fair in deciding the disputes that come before us.
5. Do you favor or oppose public financing of judicial races? Please explain. What changes would you make to the current system to improve it?
The system of public financing for judicial elections was a big step forward for North Carolina, and I strongly supported it, but as many of your readers know, the General Assembly and the Governor unwisely abolished this exemplary system, which helped keep big political money out of our state’s judicial elections and was a model for the nation.
6. Have you ever recused yourself from a case or, as a lawyer, faced a conflict of interest? Please describe the case.
In the first couple of years of my service on the Supreme Court I recused myself in a number of cases in which I had been on the Appeals Court panel that decided the case. My only other recusals have been when my husband or former law firm was involved in the case or if I had a personal financial interest.
7. The passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws has removed some of the discretion judges, juries and prosecutors used to exercise in the sentencing phase of criminal trials. Should judges have more or less flexibility in the sentencing phase than currently allowed under North Carolina law? Please explain.
This is a public policy question. As I said in my answer to Question 4, it is the job of those in the political branches of government to decide matters of public policy. It is the job of a judge to apply the law as written by the legislature.
8. In this new technological world, do you perceive a conflict between government surveillance and the need to protect an individual’s privacy?
This is also a public policy question. It is the job of those in the political branches of government to decide matters of public policy, including those involving privacy. It is the job of a judge to apply the law as written by the legislature, and within the constraints of the North Carolina and United States Constitutions.
9. What are your thoughts about criminal culpability for young people? Is the North Carolina criminal justice system treating them appropriately?
Again, this is a public policy question. Judges apply the law as written by the legislature, including those regarding sentencing, age limits for criminal culpability, and so on. My commitment is to always be fair in applying those laws — to juveniles, to adults, to businesses — in short, to everyone who comes before the court.
10. Does the death penalty place an undue financial burden on the courts? If so, assess the impact.
Our judicial system is underfunded generally, and that underfunding our courts is bad for families and communities, harmful for business formation, job creation and public safety, and detrimental to our civil society. I believe that the financial issues associated with the death penalty are part of that larger picture. Otherwise, the contours and funding of the death penalty are public policy matters. Please see my answer to Question 4.
11. Justice Department Officials had instructed federal prosecutors across the country not to focus federal resources on individuals who were complying with state laws regarding the use of medical marijuana. As a judge, do you find this philosophy confusing?
12. The law offers special protections to racial and ethnic minorities. Are members of the LGBT community sufficiently protected?
My job is to apply the laws as written by the legislature, including those protecting minorities. If members of minority communities convince those in the policy-making branches of government — the legislative and executive — to change the laws protecting minorities, my commitment will be to continue applying those laws fairly to everyone who comes before the court, in accord with the state and federal Constitutions.
13. Has the current process for redistricting served the State well?
Again, this is a policy question. In our system, the voters answer the question at the ballot box, and the role of judges is to fairly apply any changes in the law that may result.
14. Has the current process for redistricting served the State well?
This is another public policy question. Judges apply the law as written by the legislature, including the laws of civil procedure. My job is to fairly apply the law until such time as the legislature may change it.
15. There is not complete judicial uniformity across the state; some jurisdictions, for example, have family and drug courts while others do not. Are we meeting the needs of the entire state?
Since 2001, I have served as a member of the Family Court Advisory Council, so I am familiar with these issues, but again, implementation of policy and funding is a matter to be addressed by the political branches of government — the legislative and the executive.