Political experts said that
if the election had gone another week, Rachel would have won with her
major momentum that carried her to an impressive finish. Rachel
underwent extensive brain surgery in May. She fought through this
difficult operation with outstanding bravery and is recovering
Childhood and Education
Rachel grew up and attended
various elementary schools in Monroeville , PA. She attended high
school at Fox Chapel High where she was invited to be a member of the
honor society and graduated at the top of her class.
After graduating high school, she went to Chatham College , a small
private women's college. Two years later, she transferred to Carnegie
Mellon where she received a B.S. in Chemistry with a Minor in
She earned her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh ,
graduating among the top third of her class in 1988.
January, 2001 -
Present Attorney for law firm in Durham , NC . Duties following
admission include preparing appellate briefs, review and preparation of
wills, living wills, health care powers of attorney and durable powers
of attorney and providing legal assistance members on a variety of
issues, including estates, domestic relations, bankruptcy,
debtor/creditor and consumer issues.
– August, 2000 Deputy Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Michael
T. Joyce. Duties involved legal research and drafting orders, opinions
and memoranda covering various areas of the law, with particular
emphasis in appellate, civil, criminal, family, insurance and estate
matters. Also supervised legal student interns and assisted the judge
with special research projects, including the compilation of a
guidebook on child custody matters and preparation of materials on
appellate practice and procedure .
January 1990 –
December, 1997 Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John G. Brosky.
Duties involved legal research and drafting orders, opinions and
memoranda covering various areas of the law, with particular emphasis
in appellate, civil, criminal, family, insurance and estate matters.
Also supervised legal student interns and prepared materials regarding
estate and appellate practice and procedure.
– January 1990 Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John M. Cascio
and Librarian of the Somerset County Law Library. Law Clerk duties
involved legal research and drafting opinions and memoranda on general
civil litigation and criminal law, as well as the revision and update
of a digest of local published cases. Librarian duties pertained to
maintenance of the law books, management of library finances and
preparation of financial reports. Also oversaw the publication of
opinions in the county case reporter.
May 1986 –
June 1988 Law Clerk for firm specializing in asbestos/toxic tort
litigation and real estate law. Duties involved preparation of legal
briefs and memoranda; general legal research; filing court documents;
review of medical records and other documentary material; attendance at
legal seminars and depositions; and travel to Charlotte , North
Carolina to review corporate records.
In 1976, Rachel and her family joined up with the Bicentennial Wagon
Train in PA and rode across the state into Valley Forge , PA.
In 1983, Rachel did a summer
internship in Leverkusen , West Germany (now Germany ) and worked for
Bayer in a pharmaceutical plant where they made pharmaceuticals.
Rachel's hobbies includes needlepoint and cross-stitch, gardening,
cooking, and traveling. She is a history buff, including the study of
ancient Roman Law.
Dear Friends and Voters,
I was invited to attend the Judicial Candidates' Forum at the NC Bar
Association. We were only allotted three minutes each to speak. And
the spoken word differs from the written word. Here are my remarks,
I have taken the liberty of expanding upon them here.
First, I thanked the bar for inviting me. I then discussed my tumor
I explained that while the tumor has left the right side of my face
paralyzed, the surgeons did not remove part of my brain but only the
tumor itself. Thus, I am neither as irrational nor as crazy as claimed
by some in the media, but can think, reason and write as well the rest
of the attorneys. I just am not as attractive as I once was.
The rest of my speech was devoted to the reasons why I am running for
office. They are as follows:
1. The President of the American Bar Association, Mr. Michael Greco,
was also the keynote speaker. He spoke before the judicial candidates
and, frankly, he had some very disturbing things to say. He first
discussed the fact that almost forty percent (40%) of all citizens do
not know about their rights under the US Constitution and the role of
our separate branches of government. He also discussed the erosion of
our civil liberties by our government. Particularly disturbing is the
federal government's efforts to induce corporations and other parties
waive their attorney-client privileges. He also discussed the ABA's
concerns regarding the domestic spying and the President's use of
signing statements to disregard the legislation enacted by Congress.
a result of these concerns, he has created various task forces to
address this issue.
These are the very same things that I have been saying for the past
year. You can dismiss my remarks, but can the comments of the ABA
President be so easily dismissed? I don't think you can and echo his
sentiments that if we do not wake up, particularly those among us who
are attorneys and who are supposed to be vigilant guardians of our
Constitutional rights, then our rights might be lost and will be
virtually impossible to regain.
I explained that I am running because I am aware of these issues and
that I, too, am deeply concerned both for our country and our state. I
am running because I want to be part of the solution and not just part
of the problem.
2. I am running because I have the research and writing abilities. I
have drafted over five hundred opinions for the judges for whom I
worked, both at the trial and appellate level. I have also done
since I have been in private practice. The writings do not have always
bear my name, but the words and the research is mine and I would like
put my talents to work for the citizens of this state.
3. I am running because I have encountered various errors or conflicts
in appellate decisions. Likewise, I have encountered cases in which I
research an issue only to find there is very little or no caselaw on
subject. Our Supreme Court issues opinions in about a 1,000 cases per
year. Others commented on the lack of decisional authority at the NC
Bar Association meeting and expressed their request for more published
decisions which would be of benefit to the bench and bar. I agree and
would like to see more decisions, by both the Supreme Court and Court
Appeals, issued if I am elected. I also would like to have in place a
mechanism for resolving conflicting decisions of the Court of Appeals
and the Supreme Court.
There is a difference between common law, which is based on judicial
rulings, and statutory law, which is based on enactments of our
legislature. I would not be a judicial activist and make up statutory
law to suit my own whims. Rather, I would respect the separation of
powers and the separate functions of each branch. When it comes to
common law, however, I agree that the principles of stare decisis must
be respected and judicial decisions should not lightly be overturned.
However, judges have a duty to consider a change in circumstances or if
a decision is just plain wrong. If so, the judiciary has an obligation
to overturn such rulings and promulgate new caselaw. So for those
decisions which fall within the common law, I would like to see our law
modernized if is warranted.
4. I am running because I have noticed a trend in our appellate courts
regarding enforcement of the appellate rules in that the courts have
become much more strict; adherence to the rules is required. There is
an interplay of being too lenient on one hand (why have rules if you
not going to enforce them?) and requiring complete obedience on the
other. As a practitioner, I have dealt with those appellate rules and
some are less than a model of clarity. If the court is moving away
leniency towards strict adherence, then it has an obligation to make
rules more clear so that all will know exactly what is required. If
elected, I would like to be involved with a revision of those rules
are unclear so that we can give guidance to the bench and bar.
5. Earlier, Chief Justice Sarah Parker gave an annual report on the
state of our courts. She noted that we are experiencing a population
growth. With increased population comes increased demands on our
courts, whether its more auto accidents, more divorces, more deaths and
estates, more worker's compensation claims, more real estate disputes
more crime. Chief Justice Parker discussed that courts were able to
hold their own, but in the past, we have seen a cut in funding as the
chief justice was a member of one party while the legislature was of
another party. While funding has been restored, funding has just been
brought back to prior levels and will not address the growing demands.
I agree with Chief Justice Parker, but I would add that it is time to
take politics and political parties out of our courts. The courts
be non-partisan places of justice for all. Its time to end the
legislative gamesmanship that has been played. The legislature is
mandated by our state Constitution to fund our courts and provide for
the salaries of court personnel and judges and it is time for them to
adequately fulfill their duty. If elected, I would work to make our
6. We have some fine individuals that are prosecutors and they are
committed to the administration of justice, not just getting a
conviction. However, like every profession, we have a few bad apples.
We have prosecutors who lie or misrepresent the truth. We have
prosecutors who conceal or who do not turn over evidence. We have
prosecutors running for election and seeking to use cases to gain
positive publicity to assist their campaigns. And we have prosecutors
trying their cases in the media. Prosecutors are supposed to be about
justice and not just getting a conviction. I am running because the
behavior of prosecutors who engage in this type of behavior is wrong.
If elected, I would carefully examine the circumstances and would
recommend the imposition of sanctions if appropriate.
7. And lastly, we have a two-tiered system of justice in this country.
There is one brand of justice for the rich and powerful (Dick Cheney
Patrick Kennedy are recent examples). There is another if you are poor
or African American or a member of some other minority. A system of
justice that favors the rich and powerful cannot long survive and we
need to restore justice to all people so that they can once again have
confidence in our courts.
Thank you again for inviting me.
Rachel Lea Hunter