North Carolina

North Carolina’s highest court is the Supreme Court of North Carolina. The court has six associate justices and one chief justice. The chief justice is chosen through election. (Source: North Carolina Constitution)

Judicial Selection

Justices on the Supreme Court of North Carolina are selected through a partisan election, where multiple candidates may vie for the seat. The elected justice serves an eight-year term. Justices may seek additional terms through partisan elections. When a seat opens in the middle of a justice’s term, the governor appoints a candidate to fill the vacancy. The appointed justice holds office until North Carolina’s next general election more than 60 days after the vacancy occurred. The elected justice serves the remainder of the unexpired term. There are no term limits. The mandatory retirement age is 72.

State Constitution

North Carolina has had three state constitutions adopted between 1776 and 1970. As of January 1, 2024, it had 41 amendments. (Source: John Dinan, 2024)


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