The Governor and the General Assembly have been busy.
After being nominated for a business court slot over a year ago, Mike Robinson was finally confirmed by the General Assembly earlier this month. Judge Robinson will be sworn in on July 1, 2016, and will serve a five-year term. Judge Robinson will eventually sit in the new business court at Wake Forest University School of Law when it is ready around January 2017.
Judge Gregory McGuire has likewise been nominated and confirmed for a new five-year term. Judge McGuire has served on the business court since 2014, and had been slated to complete the balance of the special superior court term previously occupied by Judge Bell. With his confirmation for a new five-year term, Judge McGuire will now fill the seat that was vacated by Judge Jolly upon his retirement.
Finally, it appears that Chief Judge Jim Gale will be reappointed to serve as Chief for a new five-year term. Under HB136, now awaiting the Governor’s signature, Judge Gale will be able to take advantage of a new pathway for business court judges nearing the otherwise-mandatory retirement age. The details are complicated, but the bottom line is that Judge Gale will be eligible to vacate his current seat, be recalled as an emergency judge, be designated to serve as a business court judge, and continue to serve as the Chief business court judge upon designation by the Chief Justice.
If I understand the statutory scheme correctly, these reshufflings will leave open the possibility for two more business court judges to be nominated, confirmed, and appointed, bringing the court’s total to six judges. With that said, I do not believe there are imminent plans to expand the business court beyond the four judges we will soon have, with the three judges listed above and Judge Bledsoe.
Congratulations to our new and returning business court judges!