NC: Budget deal apparently includes plan to require three-judge trial panels for constitutional challenges to laws; would be only state in nation with such a provision

News reports seem to indicate that the North Carolina legislature’s reached an agreement on the budget that includes a provision requiring that constitutional challenges to state laws go before a three judge panel at the trial level. The conference committee substitute to SB 744 approved by the Senate yesterday includes a provision that claims challenging the facial validity of any act of the General Assembly must go before a three judge panel of Superior Court judges in Wake County. The three judges must be chosen by the Chief Justice from:

  • Seat 1- First, Second, or Fourth Judicial Division
  • Seat 2-Seventh or Eighth
  • Seat 3- Third, Fifth, or Sixth

As mentioned before when this idea was proposed in Oklahoma and in earlier coverage of the NC plan, no state provides for a mandatory three judge panel at the trial level for constitutional challenges to state laws.

The NC House is expected to vote on the budget today.

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