Former Voting Rights Lawyer Appointed to North Carolina Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Sept. 11, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) appointed Judge Allison Riggs to a vacancy on the North Carolina Supreme Court. The appointment comes after Justice Michael Morgan (D) stepped down last week and does not need to be confirmed by the Republican-led Legislature. 

In January, Riggs was appointed by Cooper to the North Carolina Court of Appeals to replace Judge Richard Dietz (R), who won election to the state Supreme Court last November. Prior to her appointment, Riggs was the co-executive director at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), an organization that fights for the responsive representation of marginalized communities in the South. She took over SCSJ leadership from its founder Anita Earls (D) when Earls was elected to the state’s highest court in 2018. 

Riggs is a staunch advocate of voting rights. The day before Cooper announced her appointment to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s photo ID law, finding the law was “formulated with an impermissible intent to discriminate against African-American voters in violation of the N.C. Constitution.” Riggs represented the plaintiffs in the now-overturned decision. She was also involved in Moore v. Harper, the landmark redistricting case that involved the now-rejected independent state legislature theory

At the time of her previous appointment, Riggs asserted, “The judiciary serves a critical role in ensuring that equal justice for all is a reality for all, not just some.”

The seat will be up for election in 2024 and Riggs will run for re-election to a full eight-year term. 

Read Cooper’s statement on the appointment here.