First black woman on NC Supreme Court to retire

Posted November 28, 2012

— North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, the first black woman to serve on the state's highest court, plans to retire next month.

Timmons-Goodson said Wednesday that she will step down Dec. 17. She officially notified Gov. Beverly Perdue of her intention a week ago.

"Understanding there is a time and season for all things, I have concluded that the time has come for me to leave the court,” she said in a statement Wednesday. “Service on the Supreme Court is a privilege that has been granted to fewer than 100 citizens in the history of this state, and I thank the people of North Carolina for the honor of serving them as an associate justice.”

The governor will have to appoint a successor, who will serve the remainder of Timmons-Goodson's term, which runs through 2014. With a little more than six weeks left in Perdue's term in office, it's unclear whether she or Gov.-elect Pat McCrory will choose Timmons-Goodson's successor.

Perdue last April issued an executive order to create a judicial nominating commission to address such vacancies. The 18-member panel has six weeks to solicit nominees and screen them before forwarding three top candidates to the governor. She would then choose one to fill the opening after soliciting public comment.

“Pat Timmons-Goodson has devoted her life to serving the people of North Carolina," Perdue said in a statement. "She will be sorely missed, but her legacy will live on. I am proud to count her as a friend and, on behalf of all North Carolinians, I thank her for the invaluable contribution she has made to our great state.”

Former Gov. Mike Easley appointed Timmons-Goodson, 58, to the Supreme Court in February 2006, and she was elected to an eight-year term later that year. She served as a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 1997 to 2005.

After receiving undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she served as an assistant district attorney in Cumberland County from 1981 to 1983. She was then appointed to a district court judgeship and was re-elected to the position in 1986, 1990 and 1994.


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  • Vincent Vega Nov 30, 2012

    "Wish the media will get off of the skin color thing."

    Don't worry they have, when the black flash mobs happen they are merely "teens"

  • storchheim Nov 29, 2012

    djofraleigh, consider the source. Do what I do and ignore the posterbaiters.

  • Charity1218 Nov 29, 2012

    Thank you for your service Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, I apologize for the disrespect that WRAL has to not even put your name in the headline.

  • Charity1218 Nov 29, 2012

    There ya' all go again with the "BLACK" thing.

  • baldchip Nov 29, 2012

    If you read the article, she probably will not pick the nominee!! It takes 6 weeks for the Committee to do their work.
    She will be out of office in 47 days. WHat is she going to do-pick one on Friday night before she leaves office on Saturday??

    I'll answer my own question-I hope not-but she probably will-being the good liberal she is!!

  • fatchanceimwrong Nov 29, 2012

    Funny...it's acceptable to call black people "people of color" but don't dare call them "colored people".

    It's not acceptable to call them Negros but the United Negro College Foundation still uses that reference.

    African-American is the acceptable term today but actually only applies to people born in Africa and who became American citizens.

    The color of skin is still as predominant a factor in our society as it's ever been. I don't see us ever getting past it to where we see people as simply people.

  • vsusu2002 Nov 29, 2012

    As a black woman, I really dislike when the media says "the first black woman or first black man" to hold a certain position or to have accomplished something. Will it be written or said that Bev Perdue was the "first white woman" to be the governor of North Carolina? More than likely the media will say that Bev Perdue was the "first female governor" for North Carolina. It's ok to announce that Judge Patricia Timmons-Goodson is retiring but her skin color should have been left out (we see what color she is).Wish the media will get off of the skin color thing.

  • NCHighlander Nov 29, 2012

    Maybe because of the fact that she was appointed to the position in 2006. That's a heck of a long time to not have ANYONE of color in the NC Supreme Court...just saying Juststatingthefacts

    You mean a black. White is a color and last time I checked it doesn't represent evil in and of it's self.

  • Grand Union Nov 28, 2012

    "Good riddance. Either she doesn't read trial transcripts, or she automatically sides with the government. Glad she is leaving."

    Can you cite cases where either happened? no I didn't think you could. carry on.

  • Grand Union Nov 28, 2012

    '"Don't you just love the fact that Bev will pic someone that we will have to contend with for at least two years????""

    Yes its excellent isn't it :) So much better than waiting for McCrory to choose whomever his financial backers want (McCrory is another man that is ashamed of his taxes for some reason.....I wonder why?)