Observer endorses Bob Edmunds on high court

Two outstanding candidates are running for a seat on the N.C. Supreme Court. Incumbent Associate Justice Robert H. “Bob” Edmunds of Greensboro faces Wake Forest University law professor Suzanne Reynolds of Winston-Salem. This is an important post because there are just seven members of the Supreme Court, the state's highest court. It focuses on claims of error and judicial interpretation of the law. The court handles appeals from the 15-member Court of Appeals, as well as all death penalty cases, redistricting cases and utility commission rate cases, as well as disciplinary cases involving judges.

Suzanne Reynolds has an impressive resume of accomplishment and scholarship. In addition to a law degree she holds a master's degree in English and journalism, and her extensive writing reflects that training. Prior to joining the law school faculty at Wake Forest, Reynolds practiced civil litigation with a large Greensboro law firm.

As a law professor she has taught for 27 years and has written a three-volume work on family law. She also drafted laws modernizing state alimony and adoption statutes and helped pioneer a domestic violence program that, among other things, provides legal help for low-income citizens. She's running for Supreme Court in hopes of changing what she says are too many brief decisions that fail to clarify existing law or provide needed guidance to lower courts. Her writing and research talents would be helpful to the court in reducing the number of those decisions, she believes.

Bob Edmunds also has a master's degree in judicial process in addition to a law degree. A Navy veteran, he has a lot of experience as a prosecutor, defense attorney and judge. He worked for the Guilford County district attorney's office, then was an assistant federal prosecutor and U.S. attorney under President Reagan. He was elected to the Court of Appeals in 1998 and to a full term on the Supreme Court in 2000. He is a board-certified specialist in criminal law and appeals.

Edmunds is regarded as a thoughtful, impartial jurist who listens closely and writes clear opinions. He points to his extensive experience in the courtroom, his considerable public service and his careful, methodical work on the Supreme Court as reasons for another term. We agree. The Observer recommends Bob Edmunds for a second term on the N.C. Supreme Court.