Mark Martin, chief justice of the state Supreme Court, has selected six judges to preside over lawsuits challenging laws that revamp the state elections board and transfers powers to the superintendent of public instruction previously held by the state Board of Education.
Martin signed an order on Tuesday assigning the state Board of Education’s case against state lawmakers to a three-judge panel comprised of:
Forrest Donald Bridges, a Superior Court judge in the judicial district that includes Cleveland and Lincoln counties and a Democrat who has been in office since 1995.
James F. Ammons, who, according to the Fayetteville Observer, is a Cumberland County judge who changed his party affiliation from a registered Democrat to unaffiliated in February 2016, saying a judge should avoid “all appearance of impropriety.”
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Martin R. McGee, a Republican, was appointed to the Cabarrus County Superior Court bench by former Gov. Pat McCrory in January 2014. He won an eight-year term in the November 2014 elections.
The case challenging the law that would do away with the state Board of Elections as it stands today and merge it with the state Ethics Commission was assigned to the following panel:
Jesse Caldwell, a Democrat and Gaston County judge who has been on the bench since 1993.
Logan Todd Burke, a Forsyth County judge and a Democrat who first was appointed to the bench in 1994 by then Gov. James B. Hunt.
Jeff Foster, a Republican from Pitt County who was appointed to the bench by McCrory last year almost nine months before being elected to a full eight-year term.
Both panels are scheduled to hold hearings this week in cases that could test the laws adopted by the legislature in one of their special sessions last month.
The three-judge panels will preside over the cases because the challenges, in part, include constitutional questions.
In 2014, the Republican-led General Assembly changed the process for challenging laws on allegations that they violate the state Constitution.
In such cases, the chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, currently a Republican, appoints three judges to preside over the challenge.