Judicial Elections

Anita Earls, pictured at far left, sits with members of the NC Board of Elections in 2009 as part of the board's investigation into former Governor Mike Easley's campaign committee and the state Democratic Party
Chris Seward / AP

A longtime civil rights attorney who successfully sued in striking down North Carolina's legislative district boundaries for excessive racial bias announced Wednesday she's running for the state Supreme Court next year.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

State lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a constitutional amendment to reduce all judicial terms to two years.

Governor Roy Cooper
Logan Ulrich / WUNC

North Carolina's governor vetoed Republican-backed legislation that would have eliminated 2018 judicial primaries among other electoral changes.

Photo: Mark Martin
Courtesy of Mark Martin

North Carolina's state Supreme Court Chief Justice was sworn in yesterday. 

Chief Justice Mark Martin was officially sworn in for an eight-year term in a ceremony at the North Carolina Supreme Court.

But he isn't new to the court- Martin was first elected in 1998. He was appointed to serve as Chief Justice this summer, after the former Chief Justice Sarah Parker resigned. She had reached the mandatory retirement age of 72.

Voter Sticker
Vox Efx on Flickr

    

Republican State House Speaker Thom Tillis defeated incumbent Senator Kay Hagan in one of the most-watched and most expensive races in the country. Hagan's defeat was one of several nationwide that gave Senate control to the GOP.

At the state level, the Republican party maintained control of both houses of the legislature.

Photo: Justice Robin Hudson (center) and Judge Eric Levinson spoke with at a Supreme Court candidate forum
Jorge Valencia

With five weeks to go before Election Day, candidates for the state’s highest court are trying to get some attention. And they’re spending more time raising campaign funds because the legislature eliminated state funding for judicial races last year.

Campaign ads for the Supreme Court are usually pretty civil. They're kind of like one from Justice Bob Hunter, in which a narrator says: "In the North Carolina Legal system, one quality must stand out: Fairness." In the video, three young people hold a sign that says "fairness" and a then flip it over to say, "Bob Hunter!"

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

In 2002, North Carolina was the first state in the country to establish a system of full public financing for its high court judges. The law was enacted after huge sums of money began flooding into court elections across the country.

Many observers say the system helps take politics out of judicial elections and encourages the best candidates to run.  North Carolina’s judicial financing system is widely seen as a national model. Since it was created, legislators in New Mexico, Wisconsin and West Virginia have been inspired to create their own public funding programs too.