Lawyers head to NC Supreme Court to debate "retention election"

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - When is an election not an election? Lawyers heading to the North Carolina Supreme Court are debating that question with a new law designed to give the court's justices a new option when seeking another term.

The Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging what the law calls a "retention election." It gives most sitting justices the choice to an up-or-down statewide vote with no challenger.

Those who sued call the law unconstitutional because they say the election is actually a referendum. The state Constitution says justices "shall be elected." Attorneys for the state say the retention option is indeed an election.

A lower court struck down the law.

Associate Justice Bob Edmunds planned to run a retention race this fall. He is recused from the case.

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