North Carolina names first black woman to lead state supreme court

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced Tuesday that Cheri Beasley would become the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, making her the first African-American woman to hold that position.

"I know Justice Beasley to be fair and deeply committed to all North Carolinians," Cooper said in a press conference, according to ABC 11. "I appreciate her willingness to serve our state in this appointed role."


Beasley will start her new role on March 1. Her predecessor, Mark Martin, announced his retirement in January.

"It is not lost on me -- this historic fact -- especially since this is Black History Month," Beasley said, according to ABC 11. "I know that the work we do is hugely important, but the other thing I think about are the little girls along the way, who ought to have a sense of promise and hope for their futures. And so I hope that in some way my service inspires young people especially, but really I hope it is a show of symbolism for where we are in North Carolina."

She added that she was "excited about the fact that North Carolina has moved forward," noting that this is not the "North Carolina of 200 years ago."

Beasley became an associate justice on the state Supreme Court in 2012. Before that she served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, from 2008 to 2012.