A split 2-1 panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals has ruled this morning that a challenge of the constitutionality of North Carolina’s eugenics compensation program should head to a special three-judge Superior Court panel.

The ruling arises from three cases of families of eugenics victims who died before collecting state compensation. The families argue that it is unconstitutional for the state to limit compensation only to those victims who were still alive in 2013.

The Appeals Court majority believes that issue should be tried before a three-judge Superior Court panel designated to deal with constitutional challenges. The one dissenting appellate judge believes the Appeals Court has the authority to address the claims itself.

In a separate case involving eugenics and forced sterilization, a unanimous Appeals Court panel ruled that a eugenics victim who was sterilized by a county agency — without participation of the state Eugenics Board — was ineligible for state compensation.