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Hudson Receives McNeill Smith Award

Hudson Receives McNeill Smith Award

Justice Robin Hudson accepts award from Christopher Brook, section treasurer.

Justice Robin Hudson of the N.C. Supreme Court was honored on Friday, April 6, as the 2018 recipient of the John McNeill Smith Jr. Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Award. The award was presented at the section’s annual meeting and CLE at the N.C. Bar Center in Cary.

“I consider it a very high honor to be recognized by such skilled lawyers as the constitutional rights section members,” Hudson said. “The award reflects their fine work in presenting difficult issues for us to decide; I am very grateful to them and to my outstanding law clerks who help make these decisions happen.” 

A native of Georgia, Hudson moved to Greensboro with her family in 1966 and graduated from Page Senior High School in 1969. She earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology from Yale University in 1973 and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1976.

Hudson practiced law in Raleigh and Durham prior to her election to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 2000, at which time she became the first woman in N.C. elected to the appellate court division without having first been appointed. She served on the Court of Appeals through 2006 and is serving her second term on the Supreme Court, having been elected in 2006 and 2014.

She served as a vice president on the NCBA Board of Governors in 2004-05 and has served on the Litigation Section Council, the Appellate Rules Committee and the Bench Bar Liaison Committee. She also served on the steering committee that founded the N.C. Association of Women Attorneys and as a member of the Board of Governors and chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the N.C. Advocates for Justice (formerly N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers).

Hudson received the Advocates’ Outstanding Appellate Judge Award in 2004. 

The John McNeill Smith Jr. Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Award honors a person who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the ideals embodied in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of North Carolina by the following: (a) Promoted the awareness and understanding on the part of the profession, the public, and/or public officials of the rights embodied in the Constitution of the United States and/or the Constitution of North Carolina; (b) Encouraged respect for the American constitutional system and the rule of law; and (c) Helped forward the discussion and debate of constitutional issues by the public and/or the profession.

The late John McNeill Smith Jr., who died in 2011, was the founding chair of the NCBA’s Constitutional Rights & Responsibilities Section, serving from 1995-97.

Previous recipients of the John McNeill Smith Jr. Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Award are Dean John Charles “Jack” Boger (2007), John L. Sanders (2008), Justice James G. Exum Jr. (2009), Bertha “B” Merrill Holt (2010), Justice Willis P. Whichard (2011), Justice Paul M. Newby (2012), Judge Robert N. Hunter Jr. (2013) and Justice Robert F. Orr (2014). Hugh Stevens (2015), John Orth (2016) and Walter E. Dellinger III (2017).