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North Carolina Judicial Branch Celebrates Women’s Equality Day on August 26

North Carolina Judicial Branch Celebrates Women’s Equality Day on August 26

  • The content of this article comes directly from the North Carolina Judicial Branch Communications Office.

The North Carolina Judicial Branch celebrates Women’s Equality Day on August 26 which was the date selected to commemorate the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. This year’s celebration is of particular importance because it is the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification in 1920. 

“It is vitally important to remember the struggles and accomplishments of women in North Carolina and the United States as a whole,” said Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. “We stand on the shoulders of the women who came before us and blazed the trail. Their struggles created opportunities for future generations of women to lead and to serve.”

North Carolina has a long history of trailblazing women who have served as judges and justices in our state courts. In 1968, Judge Elreta Alexander became the first black woman in the country elected to the district court bench. She later ran for Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, but lost her primary election to a fire extinguisher salesman with no college education or law license.

Chief Judge Linda McGee and Chief Justice Cheri Beasley
Chief Judge Linda McGee (left) and Chief Justice Cheri Beasley

Chief Justice Susie Sharp ultimately won the election that year, becoming the first woman to lead the state’s Supreme Court, and only the second woman in the country to lead a state’s highest appellate court.

Near the end of her tenure, Chief Justice Susie Sharp appointed Judge Naomi Morris to serve as Chief Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, making her the first woman to lead that court since its creation in 1967.

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One hundred years after ratification of the 19th Amendment, women play key leadership roles in the North Carolina Judicial Branch. Both of North Carolina’s statewide appellate courts are led by women, Supreme Court of North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, and North Carolina Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda McGee. A total of 164 women serve as North Carolina district court judges, superior court judges, and judges and justices on North Carolina’s appellate courts. In addition, 11 women currently serve as elected district attorneys, and another 58 serve as elected clerks of superior court. In all, women make up 43% of all elected positions in North Carolina’s Judicial Branch.

“One hundred years is not that long when it comes to essential rights like voting,” said Chief Judge Linda McGee of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the second highest court in the state. “Perhaps your mother or your grandmother experienced the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave her a voice in her government, and broke the glass ceiling that empowers today’s women with self-determination and gives them equal opportunities.”

In honor of the women currently serving on the judicial bench in North Carolina, below is a list recognizing the women judges and justices in our state organized by court and district.  

Cheri L. BeasleyChief Justice Supreme CourtWakeSupreme Court
Robin E. HudsonAssociate Justice Supreme CourtWakeSupreme Court
Anita Sue EarlsAssociate Justice Supreme CourtWakeSupreme Court
Linda M. McGeeChief Judge Court Of AppealsWakeCourt of Appeals
Wanda G. BryantJudge Court of AppealsWakeCourt of Appeals
Donna S. StroudJudge Court of AppealsWakeCourt of Appeals
Lucy Noble InmanJudge Court of AppealsWakeCourt of Appeals
Valerie Johnson ZacharyJudge Court of AppealsWakeCourt of Appeals
Allegra Katherine Torrey CollinsJudge Court of AppealsWakeCourt of Appeals
Phyllis Marie GorhamSenior Resident Superior Court JudgeNew HanoverSuperior Court 5
Alma L. HintonSenior Resident Superior Court JudgeHalifaxSuperior Court 6A
Imelda J. PateSenior Resident Superior Court JudgeLenoirSuperior Court 8A
Cynthia King SturgesSuperior Court JudgeFranklinSuperior Court 9
Rebecca W. HoltSuperior Court JudgeWakeSuperior Court 10
Claire V. HillSuperior Court JudgeCumberlandSuperior Court 12
Mary Ann L. TallySuperior Court JudgeCumberlandSuperior Court 12
Gale M. AdamsSuperior Court JudgeCumberlandSuperior Court 12
Josephine Elizabeth KerrSuperior Court JudgeDurhamSuperior Court 14
Dawn Mcdonald Layton Superior Court JudgeRichmondSuperior Court 16A
Angela B. PuckettSenior Resident Superior Court JudgeStokesSuperior Court 17B
Lora Christine CubbageSuperior Court JudgeGuilfordSuperior Court 18
Susan E. BraySuperior Court JudgeGuilfordSuperior Court 18
Anna Mills WagonerSenior Resident Superior Court JudgeRowanSuperior Court 19C
Julia S. GullettSuperior Court JudgeAlexanderSuperior Court 22A
Lori Irvin HamiltonSuperior Court JudgeDavidsonSuperior Court 22B
Karen Eady-WilliamsSuperior Court JudgeMecklenburgSuperior Court 26
Lisa C. BellSuperior Court JudgeMecklenburgSuperior Court 26
Carla Nolita ArchieSuperior Court JudgeMecklenburgSuperior Court 26
Athena F. BrooksSpecial JudgeHendersonSuperior Court Special Judge
Tanya T. WallaceEmergency JudgeWakeSuperior Court Emergency Judges
Yvonne M. EvansEmergency JudgeWakeSuperior Court Emergency Judges
Sharon Tracey BarrettEmergency JudgeWakeSuperior Court Emergency Judges
Eula Etheridge ReidDistrict Court JudgePasquotankDistrict Court 1
Amber Davis Malarney District Court JudgePasquotankDistrict Court 1
Regina Rodgers Parker Chief District Court Judge BeaufortDistrict Court 2
Sarah C. SeatonChief District Court Judge OnslowDistrict Court 4
Carol Ann JonesDistrict Court JudgeDuplinDistrict Court 4
Robin Wicks RobinsonDistrict Court JudgeNew HanoverDistrict Court 5
Sandra Alice RayDistrict Court JudgeNew HanoverDistrict Court 5
Lindsey Leigh McKeeDistrict Court JudgeNew HanoverDistrict Court 5
Melinda H. CrouchDistrict Court JudgeNew HanoverDistrict Court 5
Brenda Green BranchChief District Court Judge HalifaxDistrict Court 6
Teresa R. FreemanDistrict Court JudgeHalifaxDistrict Court 6
Vershenia B. MoodyDistrict Court JudgeNorthampton District Court 6
Elizabeth Freshwater-SmithDistrict Court JudgeNashDistrict Court 7
Elizabeth Anne HeathChief District Court Judge LenoirDistrict Court 8
Annette Webb TurikDistrict Court JudgeWayneDistrict Court 8
Ericka Y. JamesDistrict Court JudgeWayneDistrict Court 8
Amanda E. StevensonDistrict Court JudgeFranklinDistrict Court 9
Sarah Katherine Kelly BurnetteDistrict Court JudgeGranvilleDistrict Court 9
Caroline Slater BurnetteDistrict Court JudgeVanceDistrict Court 9
Debra Ann Smith SasserDistrict Court JudgeWakeDistrict Court 10
Lori Grundy ChristianDistrict Court JudgeWakeDistrict Court 10
Christine Marie WalczykDistrict Court JudgeWakeDistrict Court 10
Anna E. WorleyDistrict Court JudgeWakeDistrict Court 10
Mahsaman Samaneh HamadaniDistrict Court JudgeWakeDistrict Court 10
Monica Marie Bousman District Court JudgeWakeDistrict Court 10
Ashleigh Parker DunstonDistrict Court JudgeWakeDistrict Court 10
Margaret P. EaglesDistrict Court JudgeWakeDistrict Court 10
Jacquelyn L. LeeChief District Court Judge LeeDistrict Court 11
Joy Anita JonesDistrict Court JudgeHarnettDistrict Court 11
Addie M Harris RawlsDistrict Court JudgeJohnstonDistrict Court 11
Mary J. Howard WellsDistrict Court JudgeJohnstonDistrict Court 11
Caron H. StewartDistrict Court JudgeJohnstonDistrict Court 11
Toni S. KingDistrict Court JudgeCumberlandDistrict Court 12
Cheri L. Siler-MackDistrict Court JudgeCumberlandDistrict Court 12
Frances Monet McDuffieDistrict Court JudgeCumberlandDistrict Court 12
April M. SmithDistrict Court JudgeCumberlandDistrict Court 12
Caitlin Young EvansDistrict Court JudgeCumberlandDistrict Court 12
Tiffany M. WhitfieldDistrict Court JudgeCumberlandDistrict Court 12
Pauline HankinsDistrict Court JudgeBrunswickDistrict Court 13
Carolyn Ashley GoreDistrict Court JudgeBladenDistrict Court 13
Patricia Dyanne EvansChief District Court Judge DurhamDistrict Court 14
Amanda L. MarisDistrict Court JudgeDurhamDistrict Court 14
Doretta L. WalkerDistrict Court JudgeDurhamDistrict Court 14
Shamieka L. RhinehartDistrict Court JudgeDurhamDistrict Court 14
Kathryn Whitaker OverbyDistrict Court JudgeAlamanceDistrict Court 15A
Samantha Hyatt CabeChief District Court Judge OrangeDistrict Court 15B
Sherrill Toler MurrellDistrict Court JudgeOrangeDistrict Court 15B
Beverly A. ScarlettDistrict Court JudgeOrangeDistrict Court 15B
Amanda Lynn WilsonChief District Court Judge RichmondDistrict Court 16A
Sophia Marie Gatewood CrawfordDistrict Court JudgeAnsonDistrict Court 16A
Chevonne R. WallaceDistrict Court JudgeRichmondDistrict Court 16A
Judith M. DanielsChief District Court Judge RobesonDistrict Court 16B
Angelica Chavis McIntyreDistrict Court JudgeRobesonDistrict Court 16B
Brooke Locklear ClarkDistrict Court JudgeRobesonDistrict Court 16B
Vanessa E. BurtonDistrict Court JudgeRobesonDistrict Court 16B
Christine Fields StraderDistrict Court JudgeRockinghamDistrict Court 17A
Erica Standfield BrandonDistrict Court JudgePersonDistrict Court 17A
Marion McNeil BooneDistrict Court JudgeSurryDistrict Court 17B
Teresa H. VincentChief District Court Judge GuilfordDistrict Court 18
Susan R. BurchDistrict Court JudgeGuilfordDistrict Court 18
Angela Cheryl FosterDistrict Court JudgeGuilfordDistrict Court 18
Tonia Armanda CutchinDistrict Court JudgeGuilfordDistrict Court 18
Angela M. BullardDistrict Court JudgeGuilfordDistrict Court 18
Tabatha Phillips HollidayDistrict Court JudgeGuilfordDistrict Court 18
Kimberly M. FletcherDistrict Court JudgeGuilfordDistrict Court 18
Christy Elizabeth WilhelmChief District Court Judge 
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