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Judge Calabria Will Not Run for Re-Election to the Court of Appeals

Judge Ann Marie Calabria of the North Carolina Court of Appeals announced earlier this afternoon that she will not seek a third eight-year term when her current term ends in 2018.  Judge Calabria made the announcement during a session at the N.C. Bar Association ‘s annual meeting honoring the many living jurists who have served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

As with a similar announcement last month from Judge Elmore, we will still benefit from Judge Calabria’ s continued service on the bench for another year and a half.  Still, we would be remiss not to express our thanks today to Judge Calabria

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Chief Justice Martin Delivers State of Judiciary Address

Chief Justice Mark Martin of the Supreme Court of North Carolina delivered the State of the Judiciary Address at the NC Bar Association ‘s annual meeting this morning.  The address included a call to action to the General Assembly:  submit to the people of the State a constitutional amendment allowing merit selection of judges.   This charge was quite well received in the room, as the bar association has been working for decades to reform how we select judges in North Carolina.

The Chief Justice identified three key elements of any such merit-selection system:

A panel should evaluate candidates in an objective way and rate them as well qualified, qualified, or not qualified.
The State’ s judges will then be appointed from among the candidates.
Retention elections should be held at periodic intervals to ensure the people have a say.

In addition, any merit-selection program should grandfather in our current judges.

The Chief also touted the North Carolina Commission on the Administration

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Westlaw’s Mid-Year Update Does Not Incorporate Recent Appellate Rules Amendments

Whether at my desk or during courthouse visits, my Rules of Court book is usually close by.   As previously blogged about here, here, here, and here, the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued three orders between December 2016 and March 2017 that re-codified and amended the Appellate Rules.   In May 2017, Westlaw released a pocket supplement to its 2017 Rules of Court, which I dutifully added to the back of my book.  That pocket update purported to include all amendments to the Appellate Rules

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2016: The Year of the Dissent

Partway through 2016, we noticed a sharp uptick in the rate of dissenting opinions being filed in the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

On her blog, Kenzie Rakes has analyzed the data for the entire calendar year of 2016.  From 2015 to 2016, the “dissent rate”  jumped from about 2% to about 5% of opinions.  And 2/3 of the dissenting opinions were attributable to just three judges.  Intrigued?  Read more

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Update on Redistricting – Supreme Court Sees No Need For Haste in Covington

As I recently discussed, on June 5th the United State Supreme Court affirmed the decision of a three-judge panel based out of the Middle District of North Carolina holding that 28 of North Carolina ‘s state legislative districts were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.  The Supreme Court affirmed without opinion, and remanded the case back to the three-judge panel for determination of whether special elections should still be ordered in 2017.  After the Court’ s decision on Thursday, that possibility is much less likely.

After the Court affirmed and remanded, the Plaintiffs in Covington moved for the Court for “issuance of its judgment forthwith,” essentially asking the Court to immediately return the

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Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeals Application of Appellate Rule 2

Last Friday was a blockbuster appellate day for the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Not only did it effectively declare an appellate jurisdiction statute unconstitutional (see Matt’s blog post), but Justice Newby authored a concurring opinion inspired by “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  (“Was Old Man Potter simply morally corrupt or was he also guilty of a crime?”).

For North Carolina’s appellate defenders, however, Friday was not a wonderful day. Out of

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