Orange County

Orange County’s Mark Dorosin kickstarts campaign early for NC judge’s seat

Civil rights attorney Mark Dorosin announced this week he will be a candidate next year for the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Dorosin, the managing attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, announced his candidacy Monday night in a Facebook post. He plans to seek the seat being vacated by Judge Ann Marie Calabria, who intends to step down at the end of 2018.

Wake County District Court Judge Jefferson Griffin announced his plan to seek Calabria’s seat Monday.

Dorosin, the chairman of Orange County’s Board of Commissioners and a member since 2012, said he had been thinking about a run for a while. The courts are often out of touch with North Carolina residents, he said, and need judges with experience representing those who are underserved by the justice system.

If elected, he would resign from the Orange County Board of Commissioners; his term expires in 2020.

Dorosin noted Tuesday that his campaign was inspired, in part, by clients who expressed “how valuable it would be to have elected representatives who truly understand their experiences and perspectives.”

“My work over the last twenty years has been dedicated to helping historically marginalized individuals and communities engage local governments and advocate for their interests,” he said. “Electing a judge who understands and appreciates those perspectives will produce a more equitable legal process for all North Carolinians.”

But the timing also is right because what’s happening in the state and the judicial system, he said. Dorosin’s own Civil Rights Center came under fire this year and is awaiting a UNC Board of Governors decision this summer about whether its attorneys can continue to represent clients in court.

“I think the pressure that the judiciary is under right now is a good reminder of why it’s important that we have judges with a wide range of experience, and particularly with the experience in representing excluded communities,” he said. “It wasn’t any one particular thing. It was certainly the combination of everything that made this seem like the right time.”

Dorosin is a graduate of Duke University, UNC Greensboro and UNC’s Law School. He has been with the Center for Civil Rights for eight years, teaches political and civil rights at the law school, and is the faculty adviser to the Julius Chambers Civil Rights Moot Court team. In 2010, he was named the Pro Bono Faculty Member of the Year. He now serves as chairman of the Civil Rights Section of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice.

“In all these positions, I have remained deeply engaged in appellate advocacy, writing and arguing numerous cases in the appeals court and Supreme Court,” he said.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb