Under the Dome

January 4, 2014

McCrory appointments will set stage for Supreme Court elections

The state Supreme Court’s chief justice has to leave office at the end of August, due to the age limit on judges. That sets the stage for a couple of gubernatorial appointments.

As reported Saturday, seven seats are up for election on the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. The big battle will be for the four Supreme Court seats.

There’s an interesting wrinkle that will set the stage:

Under state law, judges cannot continue in office beyond the last day of the month in which they turn 72. For Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker, that day comes in August.

Gov. Pat McCrory will have to appoint a replacement to serve until the November election. Justice Mark Martin, a Republican, is the likely choice. No one else has committed to running for the seat yet.

Martin’s eight-year term also expires at the end of this year. Appeals court judges Sam Ervin IV and Robert N. Hunter Jr. are running for that spot. It wouldn’t be surprising if the governor promoted Hunter, a Republican, to Martin’s seat, making him the incumbent in November.

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Under the Dome is your inside source on North Carolina politics and government and has been a regular feature in The N&O since 1934. Check here for the latest on state and federal government, political advocacy and upcoming elections. This blog is maintained by the N&O politics staff.

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