§ 163-9. Filling vacancies in State and district judicial offices.
Overview of Statute
Section authorizes Governor appointment for vacancies occurring in the following offices: Justice of the Supreme Court; judge of the Court of Appeals; and judge of the superior court for causes other than expiration of term. Such appointments shall hold office until the election for members of the General Assembly, at which time an election shall be held for until a successor is elected and qualified.
(a) Vacancies occurring in the offices of Justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Appeals, and judge of the superior court for causes other than expiration of term shall be filled by appointment of the Governor. An appointee to the office of Justice of the Supreme Court or judge of the Court of Appeals shall hold office until January 1 next following the election for members of the General Assembly that is held more than 60 days after the vacancy occurs, at which time an election shall be held for an eight-year term and until a successor is elected and qualified.
(b) Except for judges specified in the next paragraph of this subsection, an appointee to the office of judge of superior court shall hold his place until the next election for members of the General Assembly that is held more than 60 days after the vacancy occurs, at which time an election shall be held to fill the unexpired term of the office. Appointees for judges of the superior court from any district:
(1) With only one resident judge; or
(2) In which no county is subject to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, shall hold the office until the next election of members of the General Assembly that is held more than 60 days after the vacancy occurs, at which time an election shall be held to fill an eight-year term.
(c) When the unexpired term of the office in which the vacancy has occurred expires on the first day of January succeeding the next election for members of the General Assembly, the Governor shall appoint to fill that vacancy for the unexpired term of the office.
(d) Vacancies in the office of district judge which occur before the expiration of a term shall not be filled by election. Vacancies in the office of district judge shall be filled in accordance with G.S. 7A-142. (1901, c. 89, ss. 4, 73; Rev. s. 4299; C.S., s. 5920; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1969, c. 44, s. 81; 1979, c. 494; 1981, c. 763, s. 3; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 920, s. 6; 1995, c. 98, s. 1; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 9, s. 21; 2017-6, s. 3; S.L. 2018-146, ss. 3.1(a), (b).)
- Governor Appointment
1. Definition for day
The term “day” means calendar day.
2. Definition for Office
(4) Office. – The elected office for which the candidate has filed or petitioned.
(2006-155, s. 1; 2006-259, s. 48(a); 2017-6, s. 3.)
3. Definition for election
The term “election” means any general or special election, a first or second primary, a run-off election, or an election to fill a vacancy. The term “election” shall not include any local or statewide referendum.
4. Definition for Election
“Election” means the event in which voters cast votes in ballot items concerning proposals or candidates for office in this State or the United States. The term includes primaries, general elections, referenda, and special elections.
North Carolina Cases
Case Name: Pope v. Easley
Citation: 556 S.E.2d 265
Case PDF: PopevEasley
Case Summary: General Assembly lawfully created three additional judgeships on the Court of Appeals however the Assembly's stipulated gubernatorial appointment process, and term restraints shall be severed as unconstitutional. Because the creation of the additional seats is not unconstitutional and established clear intent to allow enforcement of its its section notwithstanding the accompanying positions, the additional seats were upheld.
Case Name: Brannon v. North Carolina State Bd. of Elections
Citation: 416 S.E.2d 390
Case PDF: Brannonv.NCStateBdofElections
Case Summary: Statute providing that person elected to fill vacancy on superior court. Court of Appeals, or Supreme Court serves only unexpired portion of vacated term did not violate provisions of North Carolina Constitution providing that judges "shall hold office for terms of eight years."
Case Name: State ex rel. Martin v. Preston
Citation: 385 S.E.2d 473
Case PDF: Martinv.Preston
Case Summary: Statute which postponed election date for eight superior court judges for two years and for ninth judge for four years did not violate provision of Constitution stating that superior court judges shall hold office for term of eight years and until their successors are elected and qualified; legislature merely eliminated staggered terms within multi-seat judicial districts by creating one-time interim or hiatus between certain terms of office. Moreover the one-time delay in such judicial elections so as to eliminate staggered terms did not violate the right of citizens to vote which is guaranteed by the State Constitution. Nor does delaying election of superior court judges in certain judicial districts confer separate emolument upon incumbents which would be in violation of the State Constitution.