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Bill Would Require Judicial, District Attorney Vacancies to Be Filled By Party of Previous Officeholder

Under current law, the Governor may appoint a replacement whenever a judicial or district attorney position becomes open, which occurs from time to time due to resignation, mandatory retirement, or otherwise.  The pool of persons from whom the Governor can choose is wide open.  An appointed replacement then holds the office until the next election (more or less). House Bill 335, introduced Monday, would change that system.  Under the bill, …Read More

More Jurisdictional Changes: Could Juvenile Cases Be Next?

Last week, we wrote about a bill that was introduced in the legislature that would shrink the Court of Appeals to 12 judges while tweaking the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to cover direct appeals from orders on class action certification and to provide another pathway for consideration of “Bypass PDRs.” We had a hard time understanding two things about the bill: (1) why did the bill also give an …Read More

Bill Would Shrink Court of Appeals, Expand Supreme Court’s Jurisdiction

A bill introduced today would shrink the number of Court of Appeals judges from 15 to 12.  If enacted, the bill would have the next three retirements or other vacancies simply go unfilled. The Court of Appeals had 12 judges from 1977 through 2000, when the number was increased to 15.  Even with a full complement of 15 judges, the judges on the Court of Appeals are extremely busy.  The 20% …Read More

Bill Would Allow Federal Courts to Certify Questions to the North Carolina Supreme Court

There are some things you can do only in North Carolina.  Like cook on the world’s largest frying pan. But there are some things you can do everywhere but North Carolina.  Like certify a question of state law to the state’s highest court.  North Carolina is the only state in the Union that does not accept certified questions from the federal courts. If House Bill 157 is enacted, all that changes.  …Read More

Fourth Circuit Finds No Standing in Data Breach Case

Consumer data breaches are a big problem. Sophisticated thieves hack into systems we thought were secure, pilfering reams of sensitive information: names matched with social security numbers, dates of birth, bank account numbers, and more.  Fraudulent credit cards are opened in the names of the innocent.  Real harm ensues. But what about more mundane cybersecurity mishaps? A stolen laptop or phone that just happens to have sensitive data on it?  …Read More

Court of Appeals Issues Opinions With Dissents; Procedure For Further Review Unclear

With the enactment of Senate Bill 4  last week, the Court of Appeals now has the statutory authority to hear and rehear cases en banc.  Right on schedule, the Court of Appeals released a batch of opinions this morning.  What will happen if a litigant wants to seek rehearing en banc from one of those decisions? Currently, there are no procedures in place—none—governing the process of how a litigant might …Read More

Bill Would Give Court of Appeals En Banc Jurisdiction and Make Appellate Races Partisan Again

A couple of years ago, the North Carolina Supreme Court found itself with a heftier docket, thanks to new laws like the Business Court Modernization Act that sent certain appeals directly to the Supreme Court. If a bill introduced today in the General Assembly becomes law, the Court of Appeals will now have its own surprising increase in work.  Among many other things, Senate Bill 4 would: Create en banc jurisdiction in …Read More

Update: Supreme Court Repeals Deadlock Rule

As we noted about a month ago, the Supreme Court of North Carolina passed a rule that would allow for a substitute justice to avoid a deadlock vote.  That rule has now been rescinded.  In an order dated December 8th, the Court said that the rule “is hereby repealed, effective immediately, and not reserved for future use.” –Matt Leerberg Please follow and like us:

Could the North Carolina Supreme Court Grow to Nine Members?

Multiple media outlets are reporting that the General Assembly is considering a statutory change that would increase the size of the Supreme Court of North Carolina to nine justices, from its current size of seven. You might be surprised to learn that the North Carolina Constitution has long given the legislature this power: The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices, but the General Assembly …Read More

Oral Arguments Remain Rare at the North Carolina Court of Appeals

According to an analysis by Kenzie Rakes at her new blog www.ncappellatestats.com, about one-in-seven, or 14%, of cases in the North Carolina Court of Appeals were orally argued in 2015. That may seem like a low number, but remember that the denominator of that fraction includes pro se cases and others that would not make for a productive in-person discussion of the issues.  Cases presenting issues of first impression or appeals involving …Read More