Newby takes oath as 30th NC Supreme Court chief justice

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Paul Newby is now on the job as head of North Carolina's judicial branch.

Newby took the oath for chief justice of the state Supreme Court early Friday, shortly after midnight at a small ceremony at his home, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts. The oath was administered by Superior Court Judge Andrew Heath

Newby, 65, has been on the court since 2005 and most recently was senior associate justice. He is the 30th chief justice in North Carolina history.

"It is truly a sacred honor and privilege to serve as the 30th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina," Newby said. "Today, I took a solemn oath before God and the people of this great state to uphold the constitution and laws of this land, so that justice will be administered fairly without prejudice for all North Carolinians."

Newby, a Republican, was elevated to the top position after defeating Chief Justice Cheri Beasley in November by just 401 votes from nearly 5.4 million cast. Beasley, a Democrat, is no longer on the seven-member court.

Beasley conceded after a hand-to-eye recount that she requested indicated that the outcome remained the same.

Newby will participate in a public swearing-in ceremony next Wednesday that will be broadcast online.

Two other new associate justices are joining the court following their election victories - Republicans Tamara Barringer and Phil Berger Jr.

Newby, a Randolph County native, went to Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law school. He served as a federal prosecutor before getting elected to the Supreme Court in 2004.

While working as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District in Raleigh, Newby played an integral role in conducting an undercover sting operation that recovered North Carolina's original copy of the Bill of Rights, which was stolen after the Civil War.

He also co-wrote a book that analyzes the North Carolina Constitution and its history.

Newby and his wife, Macon Tucker Newby, were married in 1983, and they have four children.

Also Friday, Donna Stroud was sworn-in as chief judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. She took the oath of office Friday morning, administered by Chief Justice Newby.

She holds the highest judicial office of the Court of Appeals, which is the second highest court in the state, behind the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

Stroud replaces Linda McGee, who retired Thursday after serving as chief judge since 2014.

"Serving the people of North Carolina on the Court of Appeals is a great honor and responsibility, and this new role is an amazing opportunity," Stroud said. "I take my oath of office seriously and with grave respect to the duties now entrusted to me, and I look forward to continuing to serve this great state."

The Associated Press contributed.
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