A few weeks ago the North Carolina Court of Appeals plowed new ground: issuing the first opinion to cite Appellate Rule 38(b) since the Appellate Rules were adopted in 1975. This long-neglected rule was the catalyst for a published decision that dismissed sua sponte a substitute party’s appeal in Weishaupt-Smith v. Town of Banner Elk.

Here’s the background: American Towers first applied for a conditional use permit to construct a telecommunication tower in 2013.… Continue Reading

On Wednesday, the General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto of House Bill 239.  Against opposition from the bench and the bar, the legislature pushed the court-shrinking bill through on a mostly partyline vote.  The override votes came on the heels of a remarkable move by retiring Judge Douglas McCullough–a registered Republican–who reportedly retired a month early to avoid having his seat eliminated by the bill.… Continue Reading

A bill introduced today would shrink the number of Court of Appeals judges from 15 to 12.  If enacted, the bill would have the next three retirements or other vacancies simply go unfilled.

The Court of Appeals had 12 judges from 1977 through 2000, when the number was increased to 15.  Even with a full complement of 15 judges, the judges on the Court of Appeals are extremely busy. … Continue Reading