The Raleigh News and Observer is reporting that North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson will resign her seat from the North Carolina Supreme Court. Justice Timmons-Goodson has served on the North Carolina Supreme Court since being appointed by then-Governor Mike Easley in 2006.
The vacancy creates an interesting situation for Governor Perdue. The North Carolina Constitution provides the Governor with the authority to fill judicial vacancies, such as this one, that occur between elections. However, in 2011, Governor Perdue issued an executive order delegating almost all of her authority to fill judicial vacancies to an 18 person judicial nominating commission. The Commission has up to six weeks, unless the Governor specifies a shorter time, to nominate three individuals to fill the vacancy. The Governor, after allowing a period for public comment, must choose one of the three nominees to fill the vacancy.
Given that only slightly more than four weeks remain in Perdue's time in office, there is an awful lot of work that needs to be done to fill the vacancy prior to Governor-elect Pat McCrory taking office. Upon taking office, McCrory will need to decide if he wants to allow the Executive Order, which claims to be binding on future governors, and the judicial nominating commission to remain in place, rescind the executive order and make the appointment on its own, or replace it with a method of judicial selection of his own choosing.Copyright © 2014 Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.