As I mentioned in an earlier post, the limited time left in Governor Perdue's term meant that it would be difficult for her to utilize her Judicial Nominating Commission to fill the vacancy that will be created on the North Carolina Supreme Court when Justice Timmons-Goodson resigns on December 17, 2012. In the days that followed the announcement of Justice Timmons-Goodson's resignation, Governor Perdue asserted that she would fill the vacancy, even if it meant modifying or repealing the Executive Order which established the Judicial Nominating Commission. See stories here, here, andhere.
Perdue's willingness to modify or repeal Executive Order 86 was met with harsh criticism from North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger who said such action would constitute "one more example of the rank hypocrisy soiling her legacy." Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director for the Judicial Crisis Network, writing on National Review Online's Bench Memos blog, was also critical of this proposed course of action.
Despite the criticism from the right,, on December 5, 2012 Governor Perdue issued Executive Order 137 which suspends the Judicial Nominating Commission's role in filling vacancies until the end of her term. Despite feeling that it was necessary to suspend the Commission's role in the judicial selection process, Perdue "urge[d] future governors to continue utilizing the Commission to assist them in filling judicial vacancies for all of the reasons set forth in Executive Order No. 86."
It will be interesting to see how this unusual process impacts the individuals appointed to fill judicial vacancies that will open up between now and the end of Governor Perdue's term (rumors have it that there will be at least one more opening on the Supreme Court) and the viability of the Judicial Nominating Commission in the McCrory administration.Copyright © 2013 Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.