Carolyn Thompson is running for North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Seat 08 to help to regain people’s trust in the courts and to bring a diverse perspective. She is a democrat who has previously served as both a District Court judge and Superior Court judge.
“With the 25 years of experience that I have, I'm hoping that the voters will also resonate with me,” Thompson said. “President Obama said we are the change that we've been looking for, and there’s no use sitting around complaining when you've been given the gifts and talents to help, and that's what I intend to do.”
Thompson said while she feels an issue with the North Carolina courts is how political things have gotten, she said it is impossible to put aside all bias as a judge and these different perspectives should be embraced, not ignored.
“I want to make it clear to all who decide to vote for me that I intend to uphold the Constitution and our laws of the state,” Thompson said. “But we've got to be mindful that every judge, every person, coming into a position to hold the power of the pen, if you will, we come with implicit bias and experiences, and with the experiences that I have, as an African American woman, a mother, a Nana, a part of my community, stakeholder and leader.”
She said her previous experience on the bench, combined with her diverse perspective as a Black woman, is something that the court is missing, and this diversity is something she feels is particularly important for young Black girls to see.
“It's different when you're sitting on the bench, and you look into the courtroom and everyone in the courtroom, or at least 95% of it, looks like your family reunion,” Thompson said. “If you don't understand sentencing, for example, or why a person did something that's beyond the court's control because of where they've come from, or how they were raised or the circumstances in their community. You can easily just overlook it and just go straight to sentencing without any kind of effort to consider what they've been through.”
Thompson wants to serve on the court of appeals because of the long-lasting effects court decisions have. Thompson said that it is important to rule on every decision fairly and understand the longevity of the decisions being made.
“I'm talking about the generation that's coming like my granddaughter who's 7 years old, who’s biracial and trying to figure out why she's having to answer questions about why her hair's not as straight or why it's so curly,” Thompson said. “Hope that we get to a place where we really get back to just letting the court do its job and not pulled in a direction where everything else is going with whoever has the mic, whoever has the loudest voice, but really get back to what the people expect and that's justice. Justice for everybody, regardless of race.”