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North Carolina Supreme Court

Court’s webpage    |    Opinions

North Carolina Supreme Court - ImageThe North Carolina Supreme Court hears death penalty appeals directly from the North Carolina Superior Courts, appeals from divided panels of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and certain discretionary appeals from unanimous panels of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  The North Carolina Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices, who always sit together en banc.  All seven Justices are elected in statewide non-partisan races and serve staggered eight-year terms.

All cases before the Supreme Court are orally argued.  Almost all such oral arguments are held in the Supreme Court courthouse in Raleigh.

On the date of the oral argument, the panel will confer and vote on all cases argued before it.  An opinion deciding the appeal typically follows in about six months, though it may take shorter or longer.  Opinions are issued in batches approximately six times per year.  The Supreme Court publishes the next “Petition List Release Date” at the top center of the webpage found at http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/sc/petitions.htm, but does not project out further than that. Historically, the Court releases opinions on the same date it releases its rulings on petitions.

The North Carolina Supreme Court is the highest court in the state and has the final say as to issues arising under the North Carolina Constitution, North Carolina General Statutes, or the North Carolina common law.  Where a decision of the North Carolina Supreme Court implicates a question arising under a federal statute or the federal Constitution, the United States Supreme Court may elect to grant certiorari and hear an appeal from the North Carolina Supreme Court on those issues.

On the date of the oral argument, the panel will confer and vote on all cases argued before it.  An opinion deciding the appeal typically follows in about six months, though it may take shorter or longer.  Opinions are issued in batches approximately six times per year.  The Supreme Court publishes the next “Petition List Release Date” at the top center of the webpage found at http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/sc/petitions.htm, but does not project out further than that. Historically, the Court releases opinions on the same date it releases its rulings on petitions.  Every Supreme Court opinion is made available online, for free, by The Office of the North Carolina Appellate Reporter.

In 2014, Chief Justice Mark Martin issued an Administration of Justice Plan for North Carolina’s state courts.  The Plan provides insights into the Court’s policy and organizational goals moving forward.  Because the Plan can be difficult to find online, you can access a dedicated copy here.