North Carolina’s presumptive Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate found herself on the receiving end of Republican attacks just days before the state’s primary. As reported by Axios Raleigh, the new ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee claims Beasley can’t be trusted to protect the state’s families.
Relying primarily on two cases during her tenure on the state Supreme Court, the ad draws conclusions that have nothing to do with the majority opinions supported by Beasley.
Like the type of distortions we saw during soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing, Republicans aren’t simply objecting to Beasley’s decisions and her record. They are intentionally distorting her tenure on the bench to discourage voters from supporting her historic bid for Senate in November.
It’s easy to nitpick cases and take out-of-context decisions involving procedural issues to ensure constitutional protections. One of the cases likely used in the ad is State v. White, which was also raised during her 2020 chief justice race.
Two years ago, Beasley authored the majority opinion in White. As she explained in the decision, the issue was whether an indictment used to convict the defendant was valid. Decisions on technical issues are less about a defendant’s guilt or innocence but ensuring that the procedures used to pursue convictions follow the law. The issue specifically turned on the indictment using the generic “victim 1” instead of the using the “short form” of the victim’s name, such as initials or the victim’s first name.
Beasley didn’t just make up these rules out of thin air. Her decision cited prior North Supreme Court holdings that determined “a defendant can challenge the facial validity of an indictment at any time, and a conviction based on an invalid indictment must be vacated.” Judges and prosecutors need to make sure they make sure cases follow the letter of the law to be upheld upon review.
A majority of the court decided the cases at issue. Beasley was not out of step with most of her North Carolina Supreme Court colleagues.
Concerned voters should ask Beasley about the facts related to her record, not narratives that seek to distort her tenure. Documents provided to NewsOne by Beasley’s campaign show that she decided nearly 1,800 cases throughout her career. The former North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice has a remarkable record, with her decisions often upheld on review.
A review of all her cases found that higher courts agreed with Beasley’s rationale over 98 percent of the time. And the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Beasley in all five cases brought up for its review.
A formidable candidate with statewide name recognition, the attacks show the perceived threat of Beasley’s candidacy. Several sheriffs from across the state denounced the ad, standing by their support of Beasley in a statement released by the campaign.
“These attacks against Cheri are disgraceful and horrible,” the sheriffs said. “Cheri took an oath to uphold our Constitution and follow the rule of law, and she partnered with us to protect communities and hold violent offenders accountable. Having spent decades keeping North Carolina communities safe, we know that North Carolinians can trust Cheri to protect our communities and stand up for victims, just like she always has.”
The ad dropped right after a poll released by the Beasley campaign showed her within reach of snatching the seat. Attack ads this far ahead of the general election signify Beasley’s perceived threat.
Beasley’s internal polling has been consistent with other polls showing a very tight race. A review of a poll tracker from FiveThirtyEight shows Beasley polling strong against both possible Republican nominees. The Republican Party is fighting for its life, trying to retain seats like the one up for grabs in North Carolina.
Sen. Richard Burr is not running for re-election, leaving open the opportunity for Democrats to pick up another Senate seat and elect the third Black woman to one of the most influential bodies in the country. There are no Black women currently serving in the U.S. Senate.
While most of the political commentary around Senate flips has been focused on Pennsylvania, Beasley has a history of navigating tough statewide races. She won statewide in 2008 and 2014
After a narrow loss in the 2020 race for chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Beasley threw her hat in the race to replace Burr. Black candidates, particularly Black women, often must jump through additional hoops than their white counterparts. But surprisingly, Beasley cleared the Democratic field months ahead of the May primary, allowing her to spend time building up support ahead of the November midterm elections.
Having a Black woman with Beasley’s perspective in the Senate could be a game-changer for North Carolina families and those across the country. The additional seat could make the difference in moving forward several Democratic priorities currently stalled in the Senate including voting and reproductive rights.