GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Efforts to block a new North Carolina law canceling primary elections this year for state trial and appeals court seats are coming before a federal judge.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly approved the law three months ago, but the Democratic Party sued, saying it would violate the party's right to associate and select favored candidates.

At a court hearing Wednesday in Greensboro, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles plans to hear arguments on the Democrats' request to restore the primary for May while the lawsuit goes to trial.

Lawyers for GOP legislators say there's no constitutional obligation to hold primary elections, and Democrats still can organize and endorse candidates without them. Legislative leaders have said the cancellation was designed to lessen confusion as they debate whether to soon redraw judicial election districts.