The next chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court will be Cheri Beasley, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.
Beasley will make history as the first black woman to be the state’s top judge.
“This is not the North Carolina of 200 years ago,” she said in the press conference at the Governor’s Mansion where Cooper announced her new role.
Beasley has been a judge for the last 20 years and has been on the Supreme Court since 2012. She was a public defender in Fayetteville before becoming a judge.
Judges in North Carolina are usually elected, not appointed. But when former Chief Justice Mark Martin announced in January that he would retire this month, to take a job leading a Virginia law school, state law gave Cooper the power to pick someone to take Martin’s place.
Since Cooper picked a current Supreme Court judge to replace Martin, that means Beasley’s associate justice seat will also become vacant, and Cooper will need to appoint someone else to take it. Cooper said he will announce his pick for that seat later.