Giants of the legal profession gathered Monday to celebrate the North Carolina Supreme Court’s bicentennial.
A lot of things have changed over the past 200 years, including the state constitution numerous times, but one thing that hasn’t is the high court’s steadfast commitment to consistency and justice for all.
“We lay down our preferences and opinions in pursuit of the rule of law,” said Chief Justice Mark Martin in his celebratory address. “Our freedoms as Americans are secured by the rule of law.”
The historic celebration included a documentary video and remarks by former and current justices of the Supreme Court. Dignitaries from all three branches of government were in attendance, including Gov. Roy Cooper, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Council of State members, justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the Court of Appeals and judicial officials from across the state.
Cooper and Forest, who sat next to each other in the front row, each wearing a navy blue suit, spoke about how the Supreme Court rises above politics. Cooper said the court often acts as an equalizer and Forest spoke about its role in exercising judicial restraint.
“It has stood the test of time because it has served the people well,” Forest said.
Former Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard gave an overview of the court’s 200-year history. He spoke about many the court’s firsts and about its 100 justices and 28 chief justices over the years.
“May this grand ol’ institution not only survive but thrive,” he concluded.