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Duke EnergyAs the General Assembly debates a coal ash bill that many say lets Duke Energy off the hook, the Supreme Court today approved a rate hike for Duke Energy customers.

Justice Barbara Jackson wrote the opinion for the unanimous court, holding this:

In this case we consider whether the order of the North Carolina Utilities Commission authorizing a 10.2% return on equity for Duke Energy Progress contained sufficient findings of fact to demonstrate that it was supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence in view of the entire record. Because we conclude that the Commission made sufficient findings of fact regarding the impact of changing economic conditions upon customers, we affirm.

Read the court’s full opinion here.

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Supreme CourtGov. Pat McCrory announced today that he’ll appoint current Court of Appeals Judge R.N. “Bob” Hunter, Jr. to fill Justice Mark Martin’s seat on the Supreme Court. Martin will take Chief Justice Sarah Parker’s spot on Sept. 1,  following her retirement.

Hunter, who has served on the Court of Appeals since 2008, will take his seat on the Supreme Court on Sept. 6.

Here’s an excerpt from the Governor’s statement:

As a lawyer who practiced for 35 years and as a current judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Judge Hunter has the experience and integrity needed to serve on North Carolina’s Supreme Court .I am confident that Judge Hunter will continue to serve our state to the best of his legal abilities and with the highest of ethical standards.

Both Martin and Hunter will be running in November to retain those seats.

Martin is facing off against Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis, and Hunter is running against his colleague on the Court of Appeals, Sam Ervin IV.

 

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Plaintiffs in the Virginia marriage equality case have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the request for a stay of the 4th Circuit decision rejecting that state’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.

As reported previously, attorneys for the Virginia county clerk who has been defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay implementation of the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Bostic v. Schaefer

Without that stay, same-sex marriages can begin in Virginia on Thursday.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who handles Fourth Circuit emergency filings, is expected to rule on the request, either on his own or after consulting his colleagues.

The clerk’s request was prompted by the Fourth Circuit’s refusal this past Wednesday to enter a stay of its own decision.

Read the plaintiffs’  full request to deny the stay here.

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Martin_appointmentAs expected, Gov. Pat McCrory today announced that he will appoint sitting Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin to serve as Chief Justice effective September 1, 2014, replacing the retiring chief, Sarah Parker.

Martin is the court’s Senior Associate Justice, elected to a seat there in 1998 at the age of 35. He previously served on the Court of Appeals and the Superior Court.

Although he will begin service in September, Martin must still run for that slot in November, facing off against Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis.

Here is an excerpt from the governor’s press release:

Justice Martin has served as the Senior Associate Justice since 2006, and our Court is better for it. The humility and integrity of his character has benefited our state, and his knowledge and depth of experience is inimitable. I look forward to his work as Chief Justice as he draws upon his more than 20 years of judicial experience.