AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION OF NORTH CAROLINA TO PROVIDE FOR NONPARTISAN JUDICIAL MERIT COMMISSIONS FOR THE NOMINATION AND RECOMMENDATION OF NOMINEES WHEN FILLING VACANCIES IN THE OFFICE OF JUSTICE OR JUDGE OF THE GENERAL COURT OF JUSTICE AND TO MAKE OTHER CONFORMING CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION. Enacted August 27, 2018. Effective August 27, 2018, except as otherwise provided.
Bill H 3 (2018 Extra 2)Summary date: Aug 27 2018 - View summary
Bill H3 (2018 Extra 2)
House amendment #2 amends the question to be placed on the ballot regarding the proposed amendments to Articles II and IV of the Constitution, specifying that the legislature will recommend at least two nominees (previously, did not specify the number of nominees) to the Governor from among which the Governor will appoint to fill a judicial vacancy.
Bill H3 (2018 Extra 2)
Subject to approval by voters at the statewide general election in November 2018, amends Article IV of the North Carolina Constitution as follows.
Adds new Section 23 to Article IV of the North Carolina Constitution concerning the process for filling judicial vacancies, which provides as follows. Allows judicial appointees to hold the appointed office until the next election following the first election for members of the General Assembly held after the appointment. Requires the Chief Justice to make an appointment to fill a vacancy occurring on or after the sixtieth day before the next election for members of the General Assembly when the term would expire on December 31 of that same year. Requires that vacancies in the office of Justice or Judge of the General Court of Justice be filled through a process where individuals are nominated on merit by the people of the state to a nine-member nonpartisan judicial merit commission that will evaluate nominees on whether the nominee is qualified. The evaluations are presented to the General Assembly, which will recommend to the Governor, for each vacancy, at least two of the nominees deemed qualified by the commission. The Governor is required to appoint, within 10 days after the nominees are presented, the nominee the Governor deems best qualified to serve. Requires the commission to consist of no more than nine members whose appointments are to be allocated between the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Governor, and the General Assembly. Requires the General Assembly to provide for the establishment of local merit commissions for the nomination of judges of the Superior and District Court with appointments to the commissions allocated between the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Governor, and the General Assembly. Prohibits allocating a majority of appointments to a commission to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Governor, or the General Assembly.
Provides that if the Governor does not make an appointment within 10 days, the General Assembly must hold a joint session and elect an appointee to fill the vacancy. If the General Assembly has adjourned sine die or for more than 30 days, gives the Chief Justice the authority to appoint a qualified individual to fill the vacancy if: (1) the vacancy occurs during the period of adjournment, (2) the General Assembly adjourned without presenting nominees to the Governor or failed to elect a nominee, or (3) the Governor failed to appointee a recommended nominee.
Amends Section 10 of Article IV as follows. Makes conforming deletion of the provision requiring District Court judge vacancies to be filled for the unexpired term in a manner prescribed by law. Makes organizational changes.
Amends Section 18 of Article IV by adding that vacancies in the office of District Attorney must be filled by appointment of the Governor and the appointees hold the office until the next election for General Assembly members that is held more than 60 days after the vacancy occurs, when elections must be held to fill the offices. If the unexpired term in which the vacancy occurred expires on the first day of January succeeding the next election of General Assembly members, the Governor must appoint to fill that vacancy for the unexpired term of the office.
Makes a conforming repeal of Section 19 of Article IV, which required that all vacancies occurring in the offices provided for by Article IV to be filled by appointment of the Governor, with appointees holding the office for the specified time.
Note: The language of this bill, as described above, is identical to the language in SL 2018-118. The following provisions differ from SL 2018-118.
Amends Subsection (5) of Section 22 of Article II by adding to the proposed language that the following types of bills that are not eligible for consideration by the Governor and must not contain any other matter: (1) bills recommending a nominee or nominees to fill a vacancy in the office of Justice and Judge of the General Court of Justice or (2) bills electing a nominee or nominees to fill a vacancy in the office of Justice or Judge of the General Court of Justice.
Sets out the ballot question as for or against “Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the Governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the State nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend nominees to the Governor via legislative action not subject to gubernatorial veto; and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees."