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I believe that the reasoning is similar to why Cr and Cu are exceptions when making their electron configuration. All half filled orbitals has a symmetry that makes it more stable than two half filled orbitals and one filled orbital (in the case of N). This stability causes Nitrogen to be able to hold onto its electrons better, thus giving it a higher than expected ionization energy. This is why it is ranked as having a higher ionization energy despite the general periodic trends we learned.
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