Gov. Pat McCrory names new Chief Justice of NC Supreme Court

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Gov. Pat McCrory named Mark D. Martin to replace Chief Justice Sarah Parker. (WTVD)

Gov. Pat McCrory is picking the North Carolina Supreme Court justice with the most seniority for the state's top judicial post and in so doing boosting the election prospects of one of two fellow Republicans running for chief justice.

McCrory on Monday named Mark D. Martin, 51, to replace Chief Justice Sarah Parker, a Democrat who is retiring at the end of the month after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 72.

"Chief Justice Parker has been a dedicated, just and reliable public servant, serving our state with great dignity and leadership, and holding herself to the highest of standards," the governor said. "Her tenure as Chief Justice will be remembered for years to come, and we are so grateful for the time she spent in service to North Carolina."

"Justice Martin has served as the Senior Associate Justice since 2006, and our Court is better for it," McCrory continued. "The humility and integrity of his character has benefited our state, and his knowledge and depth of experience is inimitable. I look forward to his work as Chief Justice as he draws upon his more than 20 years of judicial experience."

Martin, a Republican, will take the oath of office on September 1 for an appointive term that runs through December 31. He will continue his campaign for chief justice and hopes to be elected in November to an eight-year term.

All five living former Chief Justices of the NC Supreme Court, three Democrats and two Republicans, have endorsed Martin for the position of chief justice.

Retired Chief Justice Burley Mitchell praised McCrory for sticking to the tradition of selecting the justice with the greatest experience for chief justice when there's a vacancy. Mitchell says that stops justices from jockeying for the job.

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