It’s not unusual to see changes on the bench with the arrival of a new year. Come January 1, 2023, Justice Dietz and Justice Allen will join the Supreme Court of North Carolina. All readers of this blog will wish each a happy and successful tenure.
I would like to take this opportunity, though, to thank and salute two former colleagues who will be leaving that bench. Justice Robin Hudson and Justice Jimmy Ervin will be heading into the sunset, though I am certain that each will remain busy, making contributions to the bar. Former justices seldom want for opportunities.
I’ve known Justice Hudson since we were in law school together, where she was in the class behind mine. We found out that we had grown up near each other in Greensboro, though our paths had not crossed then. Service on the Supremes with her was a pleasure. When she arrived, she brought with her a literal can of worms that she would put on the conference room table whenever an appropriately messed-up case was being deliberated. She would treat the Court to a king cake every Mardi Gras. She always had a smile and kind word for her colleagues, no matter how far apart they were on the issues.
Justice Ervin brought to the court a family name legendary in North Carolina legal circles. Like his dad (alas, I never met the grandfather, Senator Sam, though I watched the Watergate hearings religiously), he has a sly sense of humor coupled with a warm personality. He likes to portray himself as a vaguely dim cousin from the sticks, but one underestimates this Harvard-educated savant at one’s peril. In conference, his quiet common sense was a welcome addition to our discussions.
I treasured my time working with these two. Each contributed to the collegiality that is one of my fondest recollections of my time on that bench. While the Supreme Court will continue on as it always has, the contributions of those two departing Justices should be honored by North Carolina lawyers. Be well, my friends.