North Carolina Constitution

In October 2018, I gave a CLE presentations with (now recently sworn in) Judge Allegra Collins: “Life Preservers on the Titanic: Issues Not Properly Preserved for Appellate Review.”  Part of the presentation posed this question: Can the General Assembly enact a rule or law that automatically preserves certain issues for appellate review?  At the time, the answer to that question was as follows:

  • Yes
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In this era rife with internecine conflict in state government, we shouldn’t forget a less publicized line in the sand.  Our state constitution grants plenary appellate authority to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, ascribing no role to the General Assembly to modify that jurisdiction.

The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is set forth in Article IV, Section 12(1) of our state constitution:

(1)  Supreme Court. 

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As previously blogged about here, here, here, and here, the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed a bill that would reduce the number of seats on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 15 to 12.  Now the constitutionality of the bill is being challenged in court by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who had vetoed the bill but then saw that veto overridden by the General Assembly. … Continue Reading

It was just over one year ago that I wrote about the authority of one appellate panel to overrule another panel when the issue is one of jurisdiction. Last week, the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued an opinion in that case that helps to explain the jurisdiction of the appellate courts. The opinion may also offer a preview of the analysis we will see in the pending State v.Continue Reading

A Petition for Writ of Certiorari continues to be the most powerful tool in the Supreme Court’s arsenal.  Last Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court used its certiorari authority to revive an appeal involving the State Bar and a sitting superior court judge.  The Court did so six months after the appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeals, and four months after it had declined to issue a PDR.… Continue Reading

Today, the Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of a three-judge panel that the Supreme Court justice retention statute is unconstitutional.  With the Supreme Court deadlocked 3 votes for and 3 votes against, the lower court ruling is allowed to stand, though without precedential value.

Justice Edmunds, whose re-election bid is the only race subject to the retention statute, recused himself from the appeal. … Continue Reading

We have blogged several times on the fact that North Carolina is one of only two states that does not allow a federal court to certify questions to its state courts for guidance on issues of state law.  Recently, a Fourth Circuit concurrence by Judge Thacker contained another public plea for North Carolina to adopt a certification mechanism–quickly. In Stahle v.Continue Reading

Holidays, snowstorms, vacations, workloads—mixed in with the winter blahs—have resulted in us getting a little behind on our blogging duties. The appellate courts, however, have not suffered from the same maladies, issuing several important appellate-practice-and-procedure decisions of late.  This special “Catch-Up” post hopefully gets us back on track for the New Year.


Rule 54(b) Certification and Peacock Farms. The question presented in Peacock Farms was whether a Rule 54 certification statement (i.eContinue Reading

Sometimes the juiciest info is found in the comments.  In October, I blogged about State v. Biddix—a Court of Appeals’ opinion that appeared to significantly limit the Court of Appeals’ certiorari authority under Appellate Rule 21.  Even though a state statute specifically granted a criminal defendant the right to challenge his guilty plea by writ of certiorari, the Biddix court held that this statutory authority was trumped by Appellate Rule 21, which does not specifically authorize review of guilty pleas by certiorari.… Continue Reading

In what is sure to fuel an already vigorous political debate, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld North Carolina’s school voucher program yesterday, dissolving the trial court’s injunction prohibiting disbursement of funds to private and religious schools on behalf of qualified students.  In Hart v. State of North Carolina, the Court ruled that the school voucher legislation was constitutional, stating that “the wisdom of the enactment is a decision for the General Assembly,” not the courts.… Continue Reading