North Carolina swears in first black woman to lead state supreme court

North Carolina swore in the first black woman to serve as chief justice on the state Supreme Court on Thursday at a ceremony attended by more than 1,000 people.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley was sworn in by Associate Justice Paul Newby and is only the second African-American to serve as chief justice on the state's highest court in history.


Today is really a day of hope,” Beasley said, according to The Fayetteville Observer. “It’s a day of hope for justice — really for all of us."

“Hope for accessibility to the processes that we have in our justice system, and to the practices in our justice system. And most importantly to treat everybody — everybody — fairly, regardless of what matter they bring before the courts,” Beasley reportedly added.

Newby, who presided over Thursday's event at the Raleigh courthouse, reportedly told onlookers that it was important for the state's highest court to reflect the diversity of North Carolina's communities.

“As our state continues to grow, it’s important that our courts, including this Supreme Court, reflect the diversity and richness of experiences of the people who live in our great state,” he said, according to the Observer.

The Associated Press reports that the ceremony was also attended by former Chief Justice Henry Frye, the first African-American chief justice of the state's Supreme Court and now practices with a firm in Greensboro.

Beasley, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by former Gov. Beverly Perdue (D) in 2012, was named the next chief justice last month by the state's current governor, Roy Cooper (D).

"I know Justice Beasley to be fair and deeply committed to all North Carolinians," Cooper said at the time. "I appreciate her willingness to serve our state in this appointed role."