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Without PrecedentThe Life of Susie Marshall Sharp$
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Anna R. Hayes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832141

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807887813_hayes

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Chief Justice Election

Chief Justice Election

(p.336) Chapter 16 Chief Justice Election
Without Precedent

Anna R. Hayes

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes how a North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice, for seventy-two years, was always appointed whenever a chief justice died or retired; in such cases, the next most senior justice was always appointed to succeed him. The appointment amounted to a lifetime position, for, under what was essentially a one-party system, an incumbent was unlikely to lose his seat or even be opposed when elections were held. This procedure reliably ensured a Democrat as chief justice, given the scarcity of Republican justices. There had not been a Republican on the court in decades. It was only in 1902 that a North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice would initially take office by way of election.

Keywords:   North Carolina, Supreme Court, lifetime position, one-party system, Democrat, Republican justices

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