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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 …Read More

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 …Read More

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 here. …Read More

N.C. Solicitor General Announces Fellowship Opportunity–Apply Today!

The Office of the Solicitor General needs help.  Solicitor General Matt Sawchak and his dream team represent the State of North Carolina in our state and federal appellate courts.  The Office recently announced the creation of a fellowship opportunity, with applications due by July 1, 2017. The fellow will draft, research, and comment on appellate briefs, as well as help with oral-argument preparation.  Prior clerkship experience is strongly preferred.  Readers wrapping …Read More

Supreme Court: General Assembly Cannot Limit Our Jurisdiction

In this era rife with internecine conflict in state government, we shouldn’t forget a less publicized line in the sand.  Our state constitution grants plenary appellate authority to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, ascribing no role to the General Assembly to modify that jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is set forth in Article IV, Section 12(1) of our state constitution: (1)  Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court shall …Read More

Judge Elmore Will Not Seek Re-Election

Judge Rick Elmore of the North Carolina Court of Appeals announced on Wednesday that he will not seek a third eight-year term when his current term ends in 2018. Of course, with the end of 2018 a long ways away, Judge Elmore still has hundreds of cases ahead of him.  Nonetheless, we want to take this opportunity to thank Judge Elmore for his dedicated service to our State and the …Read More

Welcome Justice Edmunds!

Bob Edmunds, longtime associate justice on our own Supreme Court of North Carolina and former United States Attorney, will be joining the Smith Moore Leatherwood appellate team, effective July 1, 2017.  We are so fortunate to join forces with Justice Edmunds, who will bring his keen intellect and strategic thinking to everything we do—including identifying content for this blog! –Matt Leerberg Please follow and like us:

Business Court Again Urges Immediate Review by Supreme Court

**Update:  Defendant CHS has filed a petition for writ of certiorari, here.** Last year, something unusual happened in a business court case. In the course of denying summary judgment to a defendant, Judge Gale recognized that the legal question presented was “significant and controlling” and “require[d] an interpretation of two opinions from the North Carolina Supreme Court.”  Judge Gale “urge[d] the supreme court to docket the appeal” from his order …Read More

Court of Appeals Downsizing Bill Becomes Law & More Jurisdictional Changes for Supreme Court

On Wednesday, the General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto of House Bill 239.  Against opposition from the bench and the bar, the legislature pushed the court-shrinking bill through on a mostly party–line vote.  The override votes came on the heels of a remarkable move by retiring Judge Douglas McCullough–a registered Republican–who reportedly retired a month early to avoid having his seat eliminated by the bill. Moving beyond the political turmoil …Read More

Court of Appeals To Be Downsized Unless…

UPDATE:  House Bill 239 was vetoed by the Governor on Friday.  Read the Governor’s statement here.  The override vote has been calendared in the house for Wednesday. A bill to downsize the Court of Appeals—from 15 judges to 12—has been sent to the Governor.  The bill may have just enough partisan support to override a veto, although the override votes may be very close. House Bill 239 would shrink the Court …Read More