(RALEIGH) – Governor Bev Perdue has elevated a state appeals court judge – and another African-American woman to replace Patricia Timmons-Goodson on the State Supreme Court. Perdue, who sidestepped her own directives to use an advisory panel to recommend nominees, appointed Cheri Beasley. The move also possibly sets up the chance for the governor to make the appointment to fill Beasley’s appellate court seat.
“I am thrilled to appoint Cheri to our state’s highest court.” said Gov. Perdue in a statement issued Wednesday. “She has excelled both as a District Court judge and as a judge on the Court of Appeals. She will make a superb justice on the Supreme Court.”
Beasley was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2008. Prior to that, she served as a District Court judge in the Twelfth Judicial District from 1999 until 2008. Before going on the bench, Beasley worked as an assistant public defender in Fayetteville for five years.
“I am honored that Governor Perdue has appointed me to serve as an associate justice on the Supreme Court of North Carolina,” Beasley said. “I am grateful for her confidence in my ability to render fair and impartial decisions while serving on our state’s highest Court. Throughout my years of service on the judiciary, I have always considered it a privilege to serve the people of our state.”
The Governor’s move was not without criticism, including a statement from Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.
"We've reached a new low when the only way our governor can appoint someone to enforce the law is by breaking her own rules," said Berger in a press release. "It is increasingly clear that Gov. Perdue's creation of the judicial screening commission was nothing short of a deceitful political charade. And unfortunately her actions overshadow what should be a discussion of Judge Beasley's credentials."
Perdue issued an order in 2011 creating a judicial screening commission, but temporarily rescinded the order, saying there was not enough time for the panel do to its work before the end of her term. She also recommended that future governors follow her earlier directive.
The move also could allow Perdue to make an appointment to flll the vacancy caused by elevating Beasley to the top court.
Meanwhile, reports have also started to surface that Timmons-Goodson may be in the running for a federal judgeship in North Carolina’s eastern district.