Ann Shake will not seek Fletcher appointment to interim seat
Ann Shake is one of the two candidates for the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Martin Johnstone. She has announced that she will not seek the interim appointment that will be created when Johnstone steps down sometime before July 1.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will nominate up to three candidates for the vacancy. The Governor will select one of the three nominees to serve until replaced by the winning candidate in this November’s election.
Court of Appeals Judge William McAnulty, Jr., who will oppose Shake in the November election, has said that he would accept the appointment by Fletcher if it is offered to him. Shake said that she felt it likely that future cases regarding the Merit System investigation and the Governors indictment for three misdemeanors might appear before the court, and she did not want to give the appearance of being beholden to the Governor. McAnulty said if that occurs he would recuse himself.
It is felt by some that an interim appointment gives the interim Judge a competitive advantage in the general election, but others point out that many interim appointments are not successful at the polls.
Governor Fletcher vetoed a portion of the judicial budget bill that financed the special elections that would be held for an estimated nine vacancies in judicial offices that are expected to exist after July 1. By his veto, the Governor has created a situation where he will be appointing as many as nine new judges. His veto will not effect the regularly scheduled Supreme Court elections this November.
Some court watchers are suggesting that candidates for the nine judicial vacancies that will be filled by the Governor will be tainted by accepting such appointments. The Governor’s low poll numbers and pending trial on misdemeanor charges can be expected to become an issue in subsequent elections of any judge who has benefited from accepting an interim appointment.