The Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF) and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NC) yesterday filed a joint brief and supporting motion* in the case of Faires v. State Board of Elections, currently pending before the North Carolina Supreme Court. At issue is the constitutionality of Session Law 2015-66, which provides that incumbent justices on the North Carolina Supreme Court will no longer face challengers in elections, but instead will be subject to a “retention election” every eight years after initially taking office. In our brief, we argue that this change to North Carolina election law could only have been legally made via a constitutional amendment, and that the session law is therefore unconstitutional.
Earlier this year, a three-judge panel ruled that the “retention election” law was facially unconstitutional. The State has appealed directly to the North Carolina Supreme Court, which has scheduled oral argument for the morning of April 13. It appears based on the scheduling order that Justice Edmunds, who is up for election this November, has properly recused himself from the case.