Vetting Interview-Abe Jones, NC Court of Appeals Judge

Interview questions were developed by a Vetting Committee of 10 members of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association. All candidates for a particular office were asked the same questions. Interviews were conducted by 3 rotating members of the Vetting Committee. Summaries are the agreed-upon consensus of each 3-member group. Candidates were asked to interview in-person, but phone interviews were offered for candidates living outside Craven County if schedules would not allow travel.
Name, Candidate Position: Abe Jones, NC Court of Appeals Judge
Interview Date: 10-7-16
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Interviewed: On Phone
Name:  Abe Jones
Phone:  919-817-2711
Address:  P.O. Box 326, Raleigh, NC, 27602
Educational Background:
1970 – Graduated from high school in Raleigh
1974 – Graduated from Harvard College with a degree in History
1977 – Graduated from Harvard Law School
Law clerk in U.S. Federal District Court in D.C.
Law clerk in Federal Court of Appeals in D.C.
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of NC, 1979-1983
Practiced 2 years on own
Became Administrative Law Judge in 1985
Private practice with Parker, Poe, Adams, & Bernstein
1995 – Appointed Superior Court Judge by James Hunt (Served until 2012 – Lost election)
In own solo practice, deal with employment, criminal, licensure, and contract law.
Demonstrations of Leadership:
* On Wake County Board of Commissioners 1990 – 1994
* On Mental Health Board (Requires problem solving and appealing to the public for necessary funding.)
* Chairman, Wake County Library Commission
* Alpha Phi Alpha (Active in my fraternity. Help out young guys.)
Memberships and Associations:
* Christian Legal Society
Why are you running for this office?
I’m running because I’m uniquely qualified. I’m one of the few who have trial judge experience. I have been a prosecutor, defense attorney, and trial judge. I have both defended and prosecuted criminal cases and civil cases.
What is the organizational structure of your campaign, fund raising capability, etc.?
I have two paid consultants and a part time manager. My two daughters, a law student, and a young lawyer volunteer.
I think it’s very wrong that the current General Assembly took away matching funds for lawyers.
Which of the Founding Fathers do you most admire?
Probably Thomas Jefferson.
He was very erudite and had a tremendously creative mind. He did a lot of writing about the Constitution. He was an inventor. He had a good view toward African Americans.
Margaret Thatcher once said, “Consensus is a lack of leadership.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
I don’t think I agree.
Any leader has to respect opposing views. It’s an amalgum of ideas instead of overriding everybody and getting your own way. That way, each person gets part of what they want out of it, and can buy off on it.
Which President do you most admire?
Abraham Lincoln.
He freed slaves and carried the country through a tough time. Had he lived, I believe there would have been less turmoil during reconstruction. He was a great speaker and a man of principle.
Do you believe the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to be:
            a. An evolving document whose meaning changes with time, or
            b. A permanent set of rules to limit the power of the federal government?
The latter.
The Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights is designed to keep the government from impinging on individual freedoms.
Discuss an ethical dilemma you faced. What happened? How did you resolve it?
When serving as a judge, there were times when the law and my personal views diverged. For example, the ability of young people to have an abortion without parental conscent. I do not agree with that, but I went with the law.
Where do individual rights come from?
The progression began with the Magna Carta in 1215. Then John Loche’s ideas influenced the American democracy. We are the beacon. This government more than any other in history stands for individual rights.
What do you know about Common Core? What is your position on it and why?
Not much.
It’s an educational paradime. It’s an attempt to have all education to have uniformity across the nation. It can become too autocratic and bureaurocratic, but at core it’s not a bad idea if not over-managed.
What is your opinion on gun ownership, registration, and gun free zones?
The 2nd Amendment is rock hard about gun ownership and should be. I’m a gun owner. But no one needs an AR15. That’s stupid. I hate those guns. No one should have one.
Gun registration – yes.
I’m leary of gun free zones. They disarm law abiding citizens, and criminals keep their guns.
What does the phrase “Separation of Church and State” mean to you?
Exactly what it says. Churches stay out of the state’s business. Go to church to worship. But the state dosen’t write religion into law.
If elected, what would be your number one priority item during your term in office?
To do my job reviewing appeals and correcting any error in law. Discuss with colleagues and persuade them or be persuaded by them. To be fair.
This interview was conducted by Kathryn Blankley, Hal James, and Raynor James

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