Elections: N.C. Supreme Court Justice, Sam Ervin IV

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Name: Sam J. Ervin, IV

Town of residence: Morganton, North Carolina

Political office sought: Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina

Political affiliation: judicial races are non-partisan

Candidate website address: www.ErvinforSupremeCourt.com

Profession: Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals

Education: I received my elementary and secondary education in the public schools in Burke County, North Carolina. I received an A.B, magna cum laude, from Davidson College in 1978 and a J.D, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1981.

Family information: I was born and raised in Morganton, North Carolina. My parents were Sam J. Ervin, III, and Elisabeth C. Ervin. I have one brother and two sisters. I have been married to Mary Temple Ervin for 26 years. We have two children, two step-children, and one step-daughter-in-law.

Organizations or affiliations: I am a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Morganton, North Carolina, where I have served as a deacon, elder, and Sunday School teacher. I have been involved in a number of community activities in Morganton, including service on United Way bodies, working with a Boy Scout troop, serving on the board of a child care facility that was operated by my church, and officiating high school, middle school, and age-group soccer matches.

Political experience: I served as a member of the North Carolina Utilities Commission from 1999 until 2009. The Utilities Commission is a quasi-judicial body that is responsible for regulating the rates charged and terms and conditions of service provided by investor-owned utilities in North Carolina. I was elected as a Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2008, and have served on that Court since taking office in early 2009. During my service on the Court of Appeals, I have produced more than 325 opinions and helped decide over 900 case. I believe that I have developed a reputation for deciding cases fairly, impartially, and without attempting to effectuate a personal or political agenda during my service on the Utilities Commission and the Court of Appeals.

Why are you running for office?

I am running for the Supreme Court because I believe that I can make a contribution to the work that the Court performs in our judicial system. As one might expect, the Supreme Court is called upon to consider cases that are frequently complex and involve difficult legal issues. The essential role of a Justice of the Supreme Court is to determine, in large part, what cases the Court actually considers and to decide the cases on its docket fairly and impartially based on a proper application of the law to the facts rather than on the basis of the Justice's political or ideological beliefs. I believe that the work that I have done during my 13 years of service as a Utilities Commissioner and a Judge of the Court of Appeals demonstrates that I can have the ability to identify appropriate cases for the Court's consideration and to decide the cases on its docket fairly, impartially, and without political or ideological bias and would appreciate having the opportunity to serve the citizens of my state in this capacity.

What do you believe are the top three issues?

I believe that the most important questions raised by this year's election for the Supreme Court are the candidates' qualifications and commitment to deciding specific cases on the basis of the law and the facts without taking political or ideological considerations into account. In addition, I believe that voters should consider the fact that independent expenditures have already been made in support of my opponent's campaign from anonymous out-of-state sources and the fact that at least one "SuperPAC" has announced the intention of making additional independent expenditures on his behalf. Although these activities are not unlawful, they do threaten to undermine North Carolina's existing non-partisan, publicly-financed system for electing appellate judges and may impair the perceived independence of the courts. I believe that voters should be concerned about these developments and should take them into consideration in selecting a candidate for the Supreme Court.