FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2023
Contact: Alicia Mercedes, email@example.com
Nidya Sarria-King, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON– The NAACP and Advancement Project leaders published an open letter in support of North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls, the Court's only Black justice.
"The investigation into Justice Earls is a clear effort to silence a powerful Black woman who boldly speaks out against injustice," said NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson. "The NAACP is unwavering in our support of Justice Earls, whose leadership continues to advance civil rights in North Carolina and across the country. The disturbing attacks against Justice Earls are part of a larger trend we've seen across the country to target and discredit elected Black women. In this current moment, the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission must do everything in its power to increase diversity and bolster our democracy."
The coalition comprised of NAACP, Advancement Project, and the 14 other civil rights organization leaders who signed the open letter calls on the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission to drop its investigation into Justice Earls and instead turn its attention to addressing the critical issues she raised concerning racial bias and lack of representation within the state's court system.
"Justice Earls comes to the bench with decades of experience fighting against the very thing that is permeating throughout the bench — the miscarriage of justice due to racism and sexism. Yet she is being attacked for calling out racial and gender bias in a judicial system that we all know should and must be fully impartial," said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project. "No other group is more scrutinized, targeted and attacked than the Black woman, especially those in power. Justice Earls has a right under the First Amendment, and an ethical obligation, to call out bias in the judicial system to guarantee the fair administration of justice in North Carolina."
Justice Earls is being subjected to an improper investigation for criticizing:
- the Court's lack of diversity and implicit bias within the North Carolina judicial system;
- the manner in which fellow judges and lawyers mistreat her and other Black women within the legal profession; and
- the recent rollbacks on court diversity efforts under Chief Justice Paul Newby.
Justice Earls is only the seventh African-American judge in the history of the North Carolina
Supreme Court and the ninth woman to serve on the North Carolina State Supreme Court. In recent months, similar efforts to investigate and silence Black female leaders are underway across the country - including the suspension of Florida State Attorney Monique Worrell and the investigation of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Georgia.
The other civil rights organizations joining NAACP and Advancement Project include: Black Voters Matter Fund, BlackPAC, Center for Constitutional Rights, Color Of Change, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Bar Association, National Black Justice Coalition, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Council of Negro Women, National Urban League, National Women's Law Center, Rainbow PUSH, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and UnidosUS.
The letter was printed in Sunday's edition of both the Raleigh News & Observer and Charlotte Observer. Click here to read the open letter.
The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.
About Advancement Project
Advancement Project is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America's promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org to learn more.