Paul Martin Newby is the 30th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Chief Justice Newby first was elected to the Supreme Court as Associate Justice in 2004 and was elevated to the highest judicial office in North Carolina in the 2020 election. As Chief Justice, he is head of the Judicial Branch, a co-equal branch of state government with the Legislative and Executive branches. He is entrusted with leading the Judicial Branch and its more than 6,000 elected officials and employees. The mission of the Judicial Branch is to provide open courts for the administration of justice without favor, denial, or delay.
In addition to his service on the Court, Chief Justice Newby is an adjunct professor at Campbell University School of Law, where he teaches courses on state constitutional law and appellate practice. He is the co-author of The North Carolina State Constitution with History and Commentary (2nd ed. 2013) with Professor John V. Orth of the University of North Carolina School of Law. He was honored by the North Carolina Bar Association with its Citizen Lawyer Award in 2011, and in 2012 he received its John McNeill Smith Jr. Award for his work in constitutional rights and responsibilities. In 2013, Chief Justice Newby was named a Leader in the Law by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly. In recognition of his professional service, Chief Justice Newby received the James Iredell Award and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Southern Wesleyan University.
Since his election, Chief Justice Newby has served the court in various capacities. He has worked to enhance professionalism among North Carolina’s lawyers by serving as chair of the Commission on Professionalism. Chief Justice Newby also chairs the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, which aims to overcome barriers to justice and meet legal needs through collaboration and problem solving. He has co-chaired the Chief Justice’s civic education initiative, traveling across the state to meet with school and civic groups to discuss the Supreme Court and the role of the judiciary. He has served as the Court’s liaison to the North Carolina Business Court and the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners. He is a frequent judge at various moot court and mock trial events. Chief Justice Newby speaks to lawyers and judges from around the world about the American legal system and the rule of law, including groups of international parliamentarians and judges for the Open World Program, sponsored by the Library of Congress. He has been an instructor for the North Carolina Judicial College and various continuing legal education courses.
An active participant in the North Carolina Bar Association, over the years Chief Justice Newby has been a member of the Justice and Judiciary Committee, the Strategic Planning & Emerging Trends Committee, the Appellate Practice Section Council, the International Law Section Council, the Technology Advisory Committee, and the Litigation Council. He formerly served as vice president.
Chief Justice Newby was born in Asheboro, North Carolina, on May 5, 1955, to Samuel O. and Ruth Parks Newby and raised in Jamestown where he graduated from Ragsdale High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Studies (magna cum laude) from Duke University and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law. He served as a judicial intern in the United States Supreme Court and interned in the 18th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office (Greensboro/High Point). He began practicing law in Asheville with the Van Winkle Law Firm and later served as vice president and general counsel of Cannon Mills Realty and Development Corporation in Kannapolis.
In 1985, Chief Justice Newby was appointed as an assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh, where he served for over 19 years. During this time, he taught many courses for the United States Department of Justice and received the Crime Victims Fund Award. He also played an integral role in conducting the undercover sting operation that recovered North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights, stolen in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Chief Justice Newby is an Eagle Scout and is the recipient of the Heroism Award for rescuing nine people from a riptide, the God and Service Award, the Silver Beaver Award, and the Scouter of the Year Award. In 2012, he was designated a Distinguished Eagle Scout, a national honor that recognizes both his service to the Boy Scouts and his dedication to public service.
Chief Justice Newby has been married to Macon Tucker Newby since 1983, and they have four children. He and his wife attend Christ Baptist Church in Raleigh, where he has served as an elder and Sunday School teacher.