Last year the North Carolina legislature passed a law changing candidate-versus-candidate elections for State Supreme Court to retention elections. A retention election is one in which a justice whose term is up appears on the ballot with a “yes” or “no” next to his or her name.
A few months ago, a lower state court ruled that the new law violates the State Constitution. On May 7, the State Supreme Court issued an opinion in the same case. The court deadlocked 3-3 on whether to overturn the lower court ruling. When that happens, the lower court ruling survives, so now the state can’t hold a retention election for the one justice whose term is expiring. The case is Faires v State Board of Elections, 84A16. Thanks to Rick Hasen for this news.