Justice Robert (Bob) Edmunds
By John Bussian- Incumbent North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds has assembled an impressive record in his 2 terms on the state’s highest court in Raleigh, especially when it comes to government transparency. Early in his first term, Justice Edmunds was in the majority and active in oral arguments before the Supreme Court — in a favorable way — in a first-of-its-kind case [Carter Hubbard Publishing Co v. Carolina Medical Center] to consider a lower court order preventing the public from knowing what a public hospital paid to buy a physician’s practice. The Supreme Court ruled in that case that the public has a right to know how its resources are being used by government and ordered disclosure of the purchase price. And in 2010, Justice Edmunds joined a unanimous North Carolina Supreme Court — evidenced again by his engagement in the oral argument — in handing down what is arguably the most important pronouncement on the North Carolina Public Records Law in the last 25 years. In that case, SEANC v. State Treasurer Richard Moore, the Supreme Court said, “As a general rule, the legislature intended the public to have liberal access to public records.” The State Treasurer was ordered to release the records.
By contrast, Justice Edmunds’ opponents have no track record demonstrating a clear understanding of North Carolina’s open government laws.