A spokeswoman for Gov. Bev Perdue made it clear in an interview with the News & Observer on Wednesday that Perdue intends to name the replacement for departing state Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson before Perdue leaves office in early January.
One wrinkle is a special judicial nominating commission created by Perdue to help fill judicial slots that requires an 18-member commission to screen candidates and recommend three applicants to the governor. Under an executive order, Perdue must appoint one of the commission's three choices.
The reason for the commission was to "take politics out of appointing judges in North Carolina," according to Perdue's office at the time it was created.
It turns out that Perdue might soon put the nominating group out of commission.
One member of the panel, former chief justice of the state Supreme Court Burley Mitchell, said the commission is not ready to take up an appointment to the Supreme Court at this stage of Perdue's administration, which will end in early January.
"And I don't think we have the time to work on that, quite frankly," Mitchell said.
Perdue's communications director, Chris Mackey, acknowledged that a possible scenario would have Perdue rescind the order creating the commission to make clear that it is not involved in the decision. After that, Perdue would make the choice on a replacement.
"She is looking at all her options," Mackey said while affirming that Perdue will appoint the next justice.