From the Courier Tribune by Jamie Biggs
In honor of Constitution Day, Senior Associate Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court and Randolph County native Paul Newby spoke before students and community members at Randolph Community College Tuesday morning.
Newby’s visit corresponded with a series of events taking place in Randolph County in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Earlier in September, N.C. Chief Justice Cheri Beasley visited Randolph to talk to students and local officials.
As a part of Justice Newby’s visit, he hosted two presentation at RCC — one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
The anniversary celebration will conclude with a special honor, which RCC President Dr. Robert Shackleford shared details about during Newby’s visit.
“We’re going to have a really special treat,” Shackleford said. “Because of Justice Newby being from this area... we have the wonderful privilege of our own Asheboro Courthouse hosting an active session of the North Carolina Supreme Court.”
Newby’s visit to Asheboro falling in line with Constitution Day was no coincidence.
In addition to being an associate justice, Newby teaches classes on law and appellate practice at Campbell University as an adjunct professor.
“He also loves to travel across the state at every opportunity, speaking with schools and civic groups to discuss the supreme court and the role of the judiciary,” Shackleford said.
Given that public schools and colleges like to emphasize Constitution Day each year, Shackleford noted that there could be no better way to celebrate than with a justice from the supreme court present.
Though he was born in Asheboro, Justice Newby was raised in Jamestown.
“Jamestown borrowed him, but he’s ours,” joked Shackleford.
After graduating from Ragsdale High School, Newby earned a masters in public policy studies at Duke University before receiving his juris doctor degree from UNC Chapel Hill.
Since 2004, he has served as an associate justice on the N.C. Supreme Curt.
Though Tuesday’s talk to students and the community was mostly a reflection on history, Newby also touched on the present political climate and his hopes for the country’s political future.
He noted how important it is for Americans to recognize and appreciate the uniqueness of our justice system.
“We live in a world today where we see many, many countries that are trying to exercise some kind of self government,” Newby said. “We need to look at that in the context of history and see how America has been and is that shining light on the hill where you get folks from incredibly different backgrounds who are able to come together and self-govern as we the people.”
He expressed his worries and concerns about civility and discourse between Americans.
“You may have different ideas than I have. That doesn’t mean you’re evil and I’m good or I’m evil and you’re good. That just means we have different ideas.”
He added that our political culture seems to have people quickly rushing to judgements about a person simply because they may hold a different opinion.
“In the world that I see, different opinions are good if you can have civil discourse and figure out what it is that makes your idea better or what it is that makes my idea better. It seems to me, if you’re willing to listen, then that’s a good thing.”
With the majority of attendees present being students, Newby specifically addressed the younger audience before him.
“I’m hoping you younger folks can lead the way on how best to figure out how to have the type of civil discourse that is constructive and not destructive,” he said.
Newby will be present in Asheboro again on Oct. 1, when the state’s Supreme Court will host a session at the old Randolph County Courthouse.
Because attendance of the session is limited, RCC will livestream the Supreme Court in session from 9:30 a.m. until noon in the JB & Claire Davis Corporate Training Center, located in the Continuing Education and Industrial Center on the Asheboro Campus.
The Supreme Court will hear two cases with a 30-minute break in between