Frequently Asked Questions
- There is great demand for unbiased information about appellate judicial races; and
- That information is difficult to find.
In almost every case—whether criminal or civil—someone wins and someone loses. Maybe a jury finds a company liable for negligence and awards damages to an injured plaintiff. Or, maybe a judge decides that a plaintiff has no case, and throws it out before it even gets to a jury. Or, maybe a person is convicted of a felony.
The person or company that loses can usually appeal. Most of those appeals go to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. That court has 15 judges. An appeal typically goes to a “panel” consisting of 3 of those 15—”randomly” chosen by a computer. Those judges are supposed to review what the earlier judge and jury did, and make sure they complied with the law.
Those three judges usually have the last word in a case. So, their job is enormously important.
Sometimes, though, a case is really close, and the 3 judges don’t all agree. Or, maybe they all agree, but the case presents an important legal issue. In those cases, the Supreme Court of North Carolina might get involved.
The Supreme Court has 7 judges that are usually called “Justices.” If that court decides to consider a case, all 7 justices do so together. Whoever gets 4 votes, wins. That court has the last word, except in very rare cases where there is some federal issue involved and the United States Supreme Court decides to give the case one last look.
Oh, yes. The 2018 election cycle for North Carolina’s appellate judges has already traveled a path full of twists and turns.
A law passed in the fall of 2017 eliminated the judicial primaries. The law was challenged in Court, but the key provision for the appellate courts was allowed to go into effect. Here’s more information about that.
Without a primary, though, there is no limit to the number of candidates who could run in the general election. There are now three candidates for three of the four open seats.
The open seat on the Supreme Court is one with three candidates—an incumbent Republican, a challenger Democrat, and a challenger Republican. Under the law as of June, each could list their party affiliation as “R” or “D” next to their name. A new law was passed in July that eliminated the ability of the challenger Republican to list his party affiliation because he recently changed parties. That law was challenged in court, and the challenger Republican prevailed. The appeals process in that case has run its course. So, expect to see two candidates with an “R” label and one with a “D” label on your ballot this November for the open Supreme Court seat.
There’s another minor change, too. Instead of naming each open seat by the name of the incumbent (e.g., the “Jackson seat”), the ballot will just list the seat by number.
Perhaps most importantly, how can I learn more about the candidates?
As of June 29th (the filing deadline), the candidates for the November 2018 election are set as described below. The candidates’ names are linked to their respective websites. The candidates will be identified by political party, which are also included below.
Supreme Court Of North Carolina Associate Justice Seat 1:
Chris Anglin (R)
Anita Earls (D)
Barbara Jackson (R)
North Carolina Court of Appeals
John Arrowood (D)
Andrew Heath (R)
Toby Hampson (D)
Sandra Ray (R)
Allegra Collins (D)
Chuck Kitchen (R)
Michael Monaco (L)