Justice Newby speaks at RCC for Constitution Day, Court bicentennial

ASHEBORO (Sept. 18, 2019)

Paul Newby, the Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, visited Randolph Community College on Tuesday, Sept. 17, as part of the Supreme Court’s bicentennial celebration and to mark Constitution Day.

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Holding copies of the United States Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution, Paul Newby, the Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, addresses the audience in the R. Alton Cox Learning Resources Center Auditorium on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Newby was on campus for Constitution Day and as part of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

The Randolph County native gave two presentations — one in the morning and one in the afternoon — before students and community members in the R. Alton Cox Learning Resources Center auditorium on the Asheboro Campus. Newby discussed North Carolina’s role, specifically the county’s, in ratifying the U.S. Constitution in 1788 and in the addition of the Bill of Rights. Constitution Day recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is observed on the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.

Earlier this month, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley spoke at RCC as part of the Supreme Court’s 200th anniversary. On Oct. 1, RCC is livestreaming the Supreme Court session from 9:30 a.m.-noon from the old Randolph County Courthouse in the JB & Claire Davis Corporate Training Center on the Asheboro Campus. The Court will hear two cases with a 30-minute break in between. Seating at RCC is first come, first served.

Tuesday, RCC President Dr. Robert S. Shackleford Jr. introduced Newby, who was born in Asheboro and was instrumental in bringing the live session to the area. Newby has been an instructor for the North Carolina Judicial College, and is an adjunct professor at Campbell University School of Law, teaching classes on law and appellate practice. When Newby was appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney in Raleigh, he taught many courses for the United States Department of Justice. He also actively participates in the North Carolina Bar Association, and is an Eagle Scout, an elder, and a Sunday school teacher.

“He loves to travel across the state at every opportunity, speaking with schools and civic groups, to discuss the supreme court and the role of the judiciary,” Shackleford said of Newby. “This is not just a man who sits on the Supreme Court. This is a man involved in his community, involved in his church, and a great leader.”

While giving his talk, Newby not only gave the audience his family’s background — his mother was a teacher and principal and his father a print operator, but a local history lesson, noting the Regulator Movement, Samuel Ashe’s leadership, and the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.

“The foundation for understanding our rights and the source of our rights was really developed in North Carolina — in Randolph, Guilford, Alamance, this whole area here,” he said. “This idea that we have rights separate and apart from what the government tells us was an idea that grew and grew.

“We as North Carolinians, particularly we as Randolph County folks, need to appreciate the role that this county ... played in ensuring the protection of our fundamental rights and freedoms from too much government power and ensuring there was a Bill of Rights in the Federal Constitution.”

Newby also addressed the students in the crowd, and stressed civility.

“My encouragement to you young people is, God’s given you unique gifts and talents,” he said. “For some of you it may be to go on to law school, others it may be business, science, medicine ... you each have individual gifts and talents and you have passion for certain things. I encourage you to pursue that and I applaud you for being here as you pursue those things.

“My concern as I look at our state, our political culture is it is so quick to rush to some type of judgement on somebody because they hold a different opinion about something. It the world that I see, different opinions are good. ... I’m hoping that, particularly younger folks can lead the way in helping us figure out how best to have that type of civil discourse that is constructive and not destructive.”

Newby ended his talk saying, “I’m just so delighted to be back home.”