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Chief Justice labels GOP plan to shorten judicial terms a disruption of justice

Add Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin [1] to the list of critics who oppose a proposed Constitutional amendment [2] that would reduce all of North Carolina judges’ terms to two years and force them to run for reelection next year.

As the Associated Press reports [3]:


Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin

The head of North Carolina’s court system is against a proposal by some GOP legislators to reduce elected judges’ terms to two years, saying it “would disrupt the administration of justice.”

The statement by Republican Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin on Wednesday to judicial workers marks another key state leader opposing the idea, along with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Appeals Court and Superior Court judges serve eight years and District Court judges four. Any proposal would need statewide voter approval.

Martin says two-year terms would force constant campaigning and fundraising upon judges whose primary job is to be accountable to the law.

Martin does support a referendum on “merit selection” which is being advanced by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

Policy Watch Courts and Law reporter Melissa Boughton has more on merit selection here [5] and Sen. Bill Rabon’s constitutional amendment to shorten all judgeships to two years here [6].