Under the Dome

NC Supreme Court filing period opens March 16

Anyone who plans to file as a N.C. Supreme Court candidate can do so from March 16 to March 25.

The state Board of Elections met on Thursday and developed a schedule for candidates to get into the race for one seat on the state’s highest court. The meeting comes in the wake of a decision by a three-judge panel in state Superior Court declaring a planned retention election unconstitutional.

Only one state Supreme Court seat is on the ballot this November, that of associate justice Robert Edmunds.

Under the retention election rule, Edmunds would have run against his own record before any other candidates could file a candidacy.

Voters would have been asked whether Edmunds should be retained in the post. If voters cast more ballots against his retention than for it, the race would then open to others who wanted to seek the seat.

Sabra Faires, a Wake County attorney, filed a lawsuit last year asking the three-judge panel to toss out the law, arguing that moving from contested elections to up-or-down retention votes was a change that required a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution – something that did not happen.

Faires and two Wake County voters who joined her in the lawsuit faced off against the state Board of Elections in a hearing last month. The three-judge panel ruled in favor of the challengers.

Faires said earlier this week that she plans to file as a candidate.

Edmunds said Thursday he plans to seek re-election.

If more than two candidates seek the seat in the non-partisan race, an election to narrow the field will be held on June 7, the same day as the primaries for U.S. congressional races are set.

North Carolina voters will then go to the polls in November to decide who sits on the state Supreme Court, a panel of justices that has been tasked with reviewing many of the new laws and policies adopted by the N.C. General Assembly since Republicans took control of the state Senate, House of Representatives and the governor’s office.

Anne Blythe: 919-836-4948, @AnneBlythe1

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