North Carolina: Now legislators want to curtail or remove governor’s power to make interim vacancy appointments to District Court

Plans to remove the power of North Carolina’s governors to appoint some judges and transfer that authority to the legislature first discussed here continue apace.

Currently when an interim vacancy occurs in a District Court, the bar for the judicial district nominates 5 people for the governor, but the governor is free to select whomever he or she wishes. This is a change from several years ago when the bar’s 5 names were binding on the governor (Section 2 of SB 321 of 2013 as discussed here).

HB 240 as filed earlier this week would provide that where an interim vacancy occurs in a District Court judgeship the General Assembly would take the lead in this area.

  1. If in session, the General Assembly would pick the judge.
  2. If out of session, the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate could leave the vacancy open until the General Assembly comes back.
  3. If out of session, the Speaker/President Pro Tempore could jointly submit the name of someone to the Governor who could then “confirm the nominee” no later than 10 days later.

HB 240 has been filed in the House Judiciary IV Committee.