Judge Ola Lewis seeks seat on state’s highest court - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Judge Ola Lewis seeks seat on state’s highest court

Lewis explained her experience, including her work as a trial judge, sets her apart from many on the Supreme Court, including her opponent Justice Cheri Beasley. Lewis explained her experience, including her work as a trial judge, sets her apart from many on the Supreme Court, including her opponent Justice Cheri Beasley.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Judge Ola Lewis believes her experience on the bench, along with her work as a prosecutor and defense attorney, has prepared her to serve on the state's highest court.

"I just have so many unique experiences and all those experiences will walk with me into those doors," said Lewis, senior resident superior court judge for Brunswick County.

Lewis explained her professional background sets her apart from most on the N.C. Supreme Court, including her opponent Justice Cheri Beasley.

Justice Mark Martin is the only justice with experience as a trial judge, said Lewis.

Beasley served as a district court judge in Cumberland County 1999-2008, according to the N.C. Supreme Court website.

"I bring the value of the recent laws and trying those issues," said Lewis.

At issue in this race, won't just be Lewis' experience on the bench but also her political background.

Shortly after being elected as superior court judge in 2002, Lewis switched parties from Democrat to Republican.

"I don't make any apologizes for that decision. It was made with great contemplation and prayer and talk with family members and friends," said Lewis.

"I'm very proud of the history of the Republican party and I believe that I bring great perspective as an African American, black, member of the GOP."

Lewis doesn't think her political background will hurt her run for Supreme Court. In fact, she believes it may help.

"I've already had some statewide exposure, good, bad and indifferent."

That exposure was not just because of politics. It was also the result of her innovative judicial practices.

In Brunswick County, Lewis created five therapeutic courts, centered around domestic violence, DWI and drug treatment.

As a supreme court justice, Lewis says she would adhere to the constitution and wouldn't legislate from the bench.

"I believe that the constitution gives us the guidelines, and the precedent that is established gives us foundation," she said.  

Lewis explained that the stakes are high in her race, which she believes will cost $1.5 million to win. 

"This race will determine how we will live for generations to come," she said. "The U.S. Supreme Court has signaled time and time again that they will allow the state supreme courts to be the final law of the land in certain state issues, and so the make-up of the court is very important."

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved. 

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