North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Douglas Mc Cullogh has retired early and given Roy Cooper the power to appoint his replacement. This came as a surprise, as he was expected to retire at the end of May. This followed a power struggle over a bill that would reduce the number of Court of Appeals judges to 12 from 15. This bill passed on April 27th, preventing Cooper from making reappointments for the other two vacancies expected to open as Republican judges approach mandatory retirement.