Democrat Earls Elected To North Carolina High Court

Nov 7, 2018

File photo of Anita Earls talking with a group of black women during a Sister to Sister salon conversation at the Chesterfield in Durham on Friday, October 26, 2018. Earls has unseated an incumbent to join the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Credit Madeline Gray / For WUNC

Democrat Anita Earls has unseated an incumbent to join the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The longtime civil rights lawyer from Durham defeated Associate Justice Barbara Jackson and Raleigh lawyer Chris Anglin on Tuesday.

Earls' victory means Democrats now hold five of the seven seats on the state's highest court. In 2016, Republicans held a 4-3 advantage.

Earls led the Southern Coalition for Social Justice when she helped sue over legislative and congressional districts and challenged a voter ID law.

Jackson and Anglin both ran as Republicans in the officially partisan election, but legislators cancelled party primaries this year, leading to multiple candidates.

Anglin was a registered Democrat but switched parties just before filing. Unhappy GOP lawmakers passed a last-minute law to keep Anglin's Republican label off ballots, but courts threw it out.

Anita Earls talks with supporters after winning a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court on Nov. 6, 2018.
Credit Liz Schlemmer / WUNC