As we approach the end of this tumultuous year, I want to scream, “Goodbye, 2020! Leave me alone. 2021, you cannot get here soon enough.” More importantly, I want to wish all our members happy holidays and a safe new year. I hope the members who celebrate Christmas were able to see family—whether in person or virtually.
The new year brings a changing of the guard on the North Carolina Supreme Court. I would like to congratulate incoming Chief Justice Paul Newby on his new position as head of our courts. I would also like to congratulate incoming Justices Phillip Berger, Jr. and Tamara Barringer on their successful campaigns to obtain seats as associate justices on the North Carolina Supreme Court. I wish the best of luck to all of them.
Our state owes Chief Justice Cheri Beasley a debt of gratitude. She has provided the appellate courts of North Carolina with a high level of dedication. Additionally, Chief Justice Beasley demonstrated exemplary leadership during the Covid-19 crisis. With regard to the Supreme Court, I do not want to overlook Justice Mark Davis, who will also be leaving the bench. Like Chief Justice Beasley, Justice Davis has served on both levels of the appellate courts in North Carolina and distinguished himself as a jurist who understands the rule of law in the role of the courts in North Carolina.
The Court of Appeals will have two retirements of significance. Chief Judge Linda McGee has provided steadfast leadership to the Court of Appeals, particularly over the last six years when she has served as chief judge. Additionally, Judge Wanda Bryant is retiring after over 18 years on the Court of Appeals. Both judges have distinguished themselves and provided dedicated service.
For those of us who are used to regular courtroom appearances, 2020 was a frustrating year, particularly regarding trials. Our court system has shown agility in developing a WebEx system for motions hearings. While trials on a regular basis may still be several months away, we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. The trial court administrators throughout our state deserve appreciation and recognition. We as attorneys will continue to show patience as we work our way through first half of the year and the vaccination process.
It is my most sincere hope to see each of you in person during 2021. Here’s to better times ahead!