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4 Law & Hist. Rev. 129 (1986)


The Supreme Court of North Carolina is an anomaly among state courts in the antebellum years. In a period dominated by democratic reforms of state government, the court did not merely survive unscathed it actually increased its independence. The remarkable success of this court is largely attributable to the personal reputations and political acumen of two of its judges, Thomas Ruffin and William Gaston. Without those two men it is likely that the Supreme Court would have been abolished in a wave of democratic reforms that peaked in North Carolina with the constitutional amendments of 1835.


Reprinted with permission of the Law and History Review.



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