On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, Chief Justice Mark Martin issued the following statement about Senate Bill 698, which seeks to amend the North Carolina Constitution to provide for two-year terms for all judges and justices in North Carolina:
Statement of Chief Justice Mark Martin on Senate Bill 698
Nowhere in America do voters elect their general jurisdiction judges for two-year terms of office. This is as it should be. Electing judges for two-year terms would force judges to campaign and raise money constantly, and would disrupt the administration of justice.
Judicial terms of office are longer than executive and legislative terms of office because judges have a different function. Judges are accountable, first and foremost, to the federal and state constitutions and to the law. They apply the law uniformly, and equal justice under law is the ultimate goal of any court system.
The people of North Carolina should have a meaningful role in the judicial selection and retention process, just as citizens of states around the country do. But two-year terms are not the answer.