NC governor appoints Democratic justice to state's Supreme Court

September 12, 2023

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) appointed Allison Riggs as the youngest woman to serve on the state's Supreme Court.

The Monday announcement followed the governor's expected plan to fill the vacancy with a fellow Democrat.

The announcement

“The need for fair-minded, even-handed, honest, experienced judges is more important than ever as our society and our courts wrestle with many critical issues,” said Governor Cooper in the statement that also named Judge Carolyn Thompson to replace Riggs in her previous role.

“I am grateful for the willingness of Judge Riggs and Judge Thompson to serve our state’s judicial system in these new roles. They each have deep experience and admirable careers of public service that will continue to bring value, honor and integrity to the judicial branch of state government," he added.

The vacancy

"The Democratic governor filled the vacancy left by Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan, who stepped down last week amid talks of a run for governor," the Washington Examiner reported.

"While Morgan has yet to confirm his 2024 plans amid speculation, he told WRAL-TV in August that he still has 'a desire to make a difference in the state of North Carolina,'" it added.

Riggs responds

"Today has been one of the most thrilling and humbling days of my life. I’m beyond grateful to @NC_Governor for this honor and his faith in me. I’m so excited to serve my fellow North Carolinians on our state Supreme Court," Riggs shared on X, formerly Twitter.

"There have been so many colleagues, clients, friends and family members who have invested in me and gotten me here today - thank you ALL. And I’ve been blessed with remarkable teams at the COA and on my campaign. You’re only as good as the folks you’re surrounded by," she added.

The appointment makes her one of two Democrats on the state's largely conservative Supreme Court.

The other Democratic judge, Justice Anita Earls, plans to run next year for a full eight-year term in the state.

The move puts pressure on conservatives in the state for the year ahead to do more to help vote for Republicans in a state not traditionally known for Democratic leadership.

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