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.
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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.