- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - An outgoing North Carolina Supreme Court justice is returning to the Court of Appeals to fill the impending vacancy of the judge who defeated him last month.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday that Associate Justice Bob Hunter of Morehead City will fill the seat of Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin IV starting Jan. 1. State law allows Hunter to serve through the end of 2016. He can decide whether to seek re-election.

Hunter has only been on the Supreme Court since September, when he filled the seat vacated by Justice Mark Martin as Martin was promoted to chief justice.

Previous governors have appointed losing appeals court candidates to appeals court vacancies.

The Court of Appeals is the state’s intermediate appeals venue. Its 15 judges hear cases on 3-judge panels.

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