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Catawba College, Rowan Bar Association to Sponsor Forum on How 3rd Branch of Government Works

September 9, 2019

Category: Academics, Politics


Catawba College will hold a public forum on the North Carolina judicial system and how the third branch of government works, entitled "Court Is Now In Session: Reflections and Understanding the North Carolina Judicial System."

The hour-long forum will be Monday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Superior Court Room of the Rowan County Justice Center, and will feature two former associate justices of the state's highest court. The forum will be held a week prior to the state's Supreme Court coming to Salisbury on Monday, Sept. 30, for a rare court session.

The event is co-sponsored by Catawba College and the Rowan County Bar Association.

The Sept. 23. forum will feature the Honorable Robert Orr and Patricia Timmons-Goodson, who will share their reflections and insights about the judicial system in preparation of the Supreme Court sessions. Dr. Michael Bitzer, the Leonard Chair of Political Science at Catawba College, will serve as moderator.

Both Orr and Timmons-Goodson served as associate justices of the N.C. Supreme Court. Justice Orr was elected in 1994 to the court, after having served as a judge on the state's Court of Appeals. He retired from the court in 2004 to direct the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, and sought the Republican nomination for governor of North Carolina in 2008.

Justice Timmons-Goodson is the first African-American woman to sit on the state's Supreme Court, having been appointed to the court in 2006 and then elected that same year. She previously served as a District Court judge and on the state's Court of Appeals, and currently serves as vice chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She was President Barack Obama's nominee for a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in 2016.

A professor of politics and history at Catawba since 2002, Dr. Bitzer serves as a political analyst for several media sources and as a pre-law advisor. He blogs about North Carolina politics at, along with contributing two book chapters on North Carolina for books on Southern U.S. politics. He has served as a media resource, both for national and international outlets, regarding the recent North Carolina Ninth Congressional District election.

For more information, please call (704) 637-4117.

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