north carolina supreme court

It continues to amaze me how difficult it is for the public to access basic information about the upcoming elections for open seats on the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the Court of Appeals.  While stories with political angles find their way into the press, the fundamentals—which seats are open, why those seats are open, who is running, why voters should care—get little coverage. … Continue Reading

paper people chain and gavelMichelle Connell is one of the few lawyers in North Carolina who is Board-certified in both family law and appellate practice.  And as of last week, she’s now part of our appellate team!

I’ve always been amazed at just how many family-law appeals are heard by our Court of Appeals.  Pull the latest annual statistical report, and you’ll see:  about 20% of that court’s civil docket consists of domestic cases—divorce, equitable distribution, child custody, child support, alimony, and so on. … Continue Reading

Beth and Matt’s treatise, North Carolina Appellate Practice and Procedure, is finally available!  Published by LexisNexis in both print and online versions, the treatise represents the culmination of several years, and many thousands of hours, of hard work.

The treatise grew out of the same circumstances that spurred us to create this blog in 2011.  The practice of law in North Carolina’s appellate courts can be procedurally tricky. … Continue Reading

On Friday, the Supreme Court displayed how busy it has been this summer by releasing 17 authored opinions.  Justice Per Curiam (who is fond of affirming/reversing “for the reasons stated in the Court of Appeals” majority/dissent) was conspicuously absent.  Justice Earls and Justice Newby vied for the title of “Most Prolific Dissenter.”  And the Court released its first three opinions directly reviewing trial tribunal orders terminating parental rights—and for those wondering, all three opinions were decided by the Supreme Court by published opinion, but without oral argument.… Continue Reading

Students of history will remember a bygone era known as late 2018, when Mark Martin was Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the median judge on the shrinking Court of Appeals was elected in 2012, and your parents had purchased enough CDs to elevate the quaint twangs of Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line to the top of the country music charts.… Continue Reading

It’s been a hot topic for years: does the North Carolina Supreme Court want to hear from amici when the Court is weighing whether to allow discretionary review of a decision of the Court of Appeals?

You can see why amicus participation would be helpful. In North Carolina, one statutory pathway to discretionary review is showing that “the subject matter of the appeal has significant public interest.”… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court released a batch of orders today, denying review in many cases (as usual) but also granting review in six cases. These six grants—the first from the new Beasley Court—cover issues ranging from federal immigration enforcement by local law enforcement agencies to defamation and Batson challenges.

First up are the habeas petitions of two immigrants detained by the sheriff of Mecklenburg County.… Continue Reading

Cheri Beasley took the formal oath today at her investiture ceremony, becoming the 29th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the first African-American woman to hold the post.

As over a thousand spectators looked on—in person in the Supreme Court courtroom and by video feed in the Court’s History Room, the State Capitol building, and First Baptist Church—Chief Justice Beasley accepted the mantle to lead our third branch of government. … Continue Reading

Suppose an appellate judge casts the deciding vote in a case, creating a majority in support of the lead opinion.  Before the opinion is released, however, the judge retires or dies.  Does his or her vote still count?

In federal court, no.  In a North Carolina appellate court, yes.

In Yovino v. Rizo, issued today, the United States Supreme Court considered this question for the first time. … Continue Reading

After two years of uncertainty about the future of the Court of Appeals, there appears to have been a breakthrough.  Yesterday, a bill was introduced by Republicans in the North Carolina Senate that would preserve the size of the Court of Appeals at 15 members.  If the bill becomes law–and I expect it will–the drama surrounding the court shrinkage may end as abruptly as it began.… Continue Reading