North Carolina Supreme Court throws 200th anniversary party

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North Carolina's highest court is holding a "legal party" to observe the anniversary of its first meeting 200 years ago this month.

The state Supreme Court scheduled a special session Monday in its downtown Raleigh courtroom to celebrate the court's bicentennial.

The General Assembly created the court in 1818 and appointed a chief justice and two judges. The court met the first time in January 1819.

The court was formalized permanently in the 1868 state constitution and now has seven justices, each elected in statewide elections to serve eight-year terms. The chief justice is also head of the state's judicial branch.

The bicentennial is the latest in recently observed anniversaries by the court system, including the 50th anniversary of the Court of Appeals in 2017.

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USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is adjusting the premium processing fee for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers beginning on Oct. 1, 2018 to more effectively adjudicate petitions and maintain effective service to petitioners.

The premium processing fee will increase to $1,410, a 14.92 percent increase (after rounding) from the current fee of $1,225. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, represents the percentage change in inflation since the fee was last increased in 2010 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

“Because premium processing fees have not been adjusted since 2010, our ability to improve the adjudications and service processes for all petitioners has been hindered as we’ve experienced significantly higher demand for immigration benefits. Ultimately, adjusting the premium processing fee will allow us to continue making necessary investments in staff and technology to administer various immigration benefit requests more effectively and efficiently,” said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Moore. “USCIS will continue adjudicating all petitions on a case-by-case basis to determine if they meet all standards required under applicable law, policies, and regulations.”

Premium processing is an optional service that is currently authorized for certain petitioners filing Forms I-129 or I-140. The system allows petitioners to request 15-day processing of certain employment-based immigration benefit requests if they pay an extra fee. The premium processing fee is paid in addition to the base filing fee and any other applicable fees, which cannot be waived.