As noted on the order sheet released today by the state Supreme Court, Justice Bob Edmunds has recused himself from taking part in the appeal concerning the new Supreme Court judicial retention election law.
Under that law, enacted in October and effective immediately, sitting Supreme Court justices running for re-election would be subjected to an up-or-down vote rather than face off against a challenger.
Edmunds is the only justice up for re-election and would have been the first to run without a challenger.
Critics of the law have said that Republican lawmakers pushed for an early effective date so as to give Edmunds an advantage and help ensure continued Republican control on the state’s highest court.
A three-judge panel struck down the new law as unconstitutional in early March. That ruling is now on appeal before the Supreme Court, which will hear argument on an expedited base, set for April 13, 2015.
In the interim, the state Board of Elections has opened up the filing period for challengers to the seat held by Edmunds, scheduling a primary election on the same date as congressional district elections, June 7.
The absence of Edmunds in the case raises the specter of a 3-3 split by the remaining justices, thus leaving the 3-judge panel ruling intact.
For more on the issues in the case, click here.