AN ACT ALLOWING VOTERS TO ELECT, AND THEN RETAIN, JUSTICES OF THE NORTH CAROLINA SUPREME COURT FOR ELECTION.
Adds new Article 1A, "Retention Elections," to GS Chapter 7A to provide that if the North Carolina Chief Justice, an Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, or a Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals was appointed to the office now held, then the next election for that office must be by ballot as otherwise provided by GS Chapter 7A and GS Chapter 163. Provides that a Chief Justice, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, or a Judge of the Court of Appealswho was elected to that office at the most recent election, by partisan or by retention election, who wants to continue in office is subject to approval by nonpartisan ballot at the general election immediately preceding the expiration of the term.
Approval requires a majority of the votes cast by qualified voters in support of the justice's or judge's retention. Provides additional criteria for a person to indicate a desire to continue in office and the appropriate notice and filing to be done in order to be on the retention election ballot. Presents the question to be proposed on the retention election ballot. Provides that if voters vote in the affirmative to approve a retention in office, the justice or judge is to be retained for a new eight-year term. Provides that if the voters fail to approve the retention in office, then the office becomes vacant at the term of office, and the office is to be filled by appointment until the next general election when a successor is elected for a full term. Directs the Governor to issue a commission, upon receipt of certification from the Secretary of State as to the results of an election, attesting to the fact that a Justice or a Judge is retained in office via the vote of the people.
Makes conforming changes to GS 7A-10, GS 163-1, GS 163-321, and GS 163-324(a).
Amends GS 7A-16 to delete most of the provisions creating and organizing the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Instead provides that the Court of Appeals must consist of 12 judges elected as provided in Article 1A of GS Chapter 7A. Directs the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court to designate one of the judges as Chief Judge, to serve in that capacity at the pleasure of the Chief Justice. Requires that the Court of Appeals take the oath prescribed fora judge of the General Court of Justice before taking the duties of the office.
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