Full Legal Name: Elizabeth Davenport Scott
Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Elizabeth Davenport Scott
Office Sought/District: North Carolina Court of Appeals – John Martin Seat
Party: The race is nonpartisan.
Date of Birth: December 28, 1960
Home Address: 3257 Anderson Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609
Mailing Address (if different from home):
Campaign Web Site: www.elizabethdavenportscott.com
Occupation & Employer: Litigation Partner, Williams Mullen
Years lived in Durham: 0
Home P hone: (919) 821-2244
Work Phone: (919) 981-4004
1. If you have made pledges, taken positions or otherwise commented on how you might rule in office, what are your top three priorities or issues of concern for the coming term?
I have not made pledges, taken positions or otherwise commented on how I might rule in office. In fact, I signed the North Carolina Bar Association Resolution Regarding Judicial Campaigns pledging not to take positions on how I might rule in office in order to protect the impartiality of the Court. Nevertheless, my top priorities if elected will be to issue well researched, well reasoned, and well written opinions in a timely manner.
2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the bench? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
I have a record of service to my firm as Chair of the Women’s Initiative and on the Diversity Committee, in my church as a Deacon, in the North Carolina and Wake County Bar Associations in numerous roles including Ethics Co-Chair of the Litigation Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, and in the community on the Board of Directors of the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen for 10+ years and as a newly elected member to the Board of Alzheimer’s North Carolina. I believe that my election and appointment to these roles reflects the confidence of others and their belief in my leadership abilities and thus my ability to be effective on the bench.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how do your political and legal philosophies show in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
The Court of Appeals seat for which I am running is a nonpartisan position and thus a position for which I do not define myself politically. In fact, prior to this election, I have not been politically active. I pledge to be fair to all without regard to politics. My commitment to diversity within my firm is reflective of my commitment to fairness for all.
4. The INDY’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
My service on the Board of the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen, as a Deacon in my church, and on the Diversity Committee in my law firm are reflective of my service to church and community and my commitment to fairness for all. This service is indicative of my commitment to building a just community.
5. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
I will enforce laws as adopted by the North Carolina Legislature to the extent they are not in conflict with the North Carolina and United States Constitutions, regardless of my personal beliefs and regardless of their popularity with the public. This is a principled stand that may very well cost my popularity points with voters.
6. The Court of Appeals does not hold oral arguments for a large portion of cases, and a large portion of opinions go unpunished. Is this an adequate way to build a body of case law?
I favor of oral arguments to the extent they would aid in the Court’s understanding of the facts or the law of a case before the Court. Otherwise, oral argument will only serve to unnecessarily increase the costs of appeal to the litigants for which I am not in favor. Similarly, I support publication of those decisions that add to the jurisprudence of the State. If elected, I would carefully consider each case to determine whether oral argument and publication of the decision are warranted.
7. What is the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in setting precedent for North Carolina’s appellate courts? The US Supreme Court sets precedent that North Carolina appellate courts must follow.8. Do you favor or oppose public financing of judicial races? Please explain. What changes would you make to the current system to improve it?
I favor public financing to the extent that public financing allows Judicial Candidates to spend more time educating the voting public on their backgrounds and less time raising money. That said, I am confident that my fundraising has come from sources that do not call my impartiality into jeopardy. I only hope that my fundraising efforts will be sufficient to educate voters on my qualifications for office.
9. Have you ever recused yourself from a case or, as a lawyer, faced a conflict of interest? Please describe the case.
I have declined to accept cases that present a conflict or potential conflict of interest. Over my career, I have declined to accept cases on numerous occasions where those cases presented an actual or potential conflict with other cases being or that had been handled by members of my firm. Given the length of my career, I cannot recall the specific of the casesß involved.
10. Sometimes state laws conflict with personal beliefs. Please list the two laws with which you are most uncomfortable personally. How do you deal with those conflicts?
As a judge, I would be bound to follow the law regardless of any conflict with my personal beliefs and thus it is irrelevant to identify laws with which I might be uncomfortable personally.
11. The passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws has removed some of the discretion judges, juries and prosecutors used to exercise in the sentencing phase of criminal trials. Should judges have more or less flexibility in the sentencing phase than currently allowed under North Carolina law?
Please explain. While there might be cases where I might like more flexibility in the sentencing phase than currently allowed by North Carolina law, I believe that mandatory minimum sentencing laws promote fairness.
12. In this new technological world, do you perceive a conflict between government surveillance and the need to protect an individual’s privacy?
Yes. Technological break-throughs have and will continue to create conflicts between protection of society through government survelliance and the need to protect an individual’s privacy.
13. What are your thoughts about criminal culpability for young people? Is the North Carolina criminal justice system treating them appropriately?
My personal thoughts on criminal culpability for young people are largely irrelevant. As a judge, my job would be to interpret and apply the laws as written by the Legislature.
14. Does the death penalty place an undue financial burden on the courts?
I have not studied this issue and am not in a position to comment.
15. Justice Department Officials had instructed federal prosecutors across the country not to focus federal resources on individuals who were complying with state laws regarding the use of medical marijuana. As a judge, do you find this philosophy confusing?
Yes. I find these instructions confusing.
16. The law offers special protections to racial and ethnic minorities. Are members of the LGBT community sufficiently protected?
To the extent that this might be an issue to come before me if elected as a n appellate court judge, this is an issue on which I have pledged in accordance to the NC Bar Association Resolution Regarding Judicial Campaign not to comment.
17. Has the current processing for redistricting served the State well?
This is an issue that I have not studied and on which I will decline comment.
18. Have the legislative branch unduly depleted the power of the judicial branch in terms of civil procedure?
I would need more specificity in the question to formulate an answer.
19. There is not complete judicial uniformity across the state; some jurisdictions, for example, have family and drug courts while others do not. Are we meeting the needs of the entire state?
While I would like to see more family and drug courts throughout the state, I am not prepared to say that North Carolina is not meeting the needs of the entire State.