NCICL Newsletters

October 2010 at NCICL
Elizabeth Lincicome
Oct 31st, 2010

On October 5th, members of NCICL attended the WCBA's Business Luncheon and Professionalism Roundtable. On October 14th, the N.C. Supreme Court Historical Society hosted its 2010 Annual Meeting at the Charlotte Museum of History. Judge Allyson Duncan of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was the keynote speaker. On October 18th, Senior Staff Attorney Jason Kay spoke to the Resident Lenders of North Carolina on the topic of Regulatory Capture and Competition in NC.


September at NCICL
Elizabeth Lincicome
Sep 30th, 2010

The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law’s Executive Director Bob Orr and Senior Staff Attorney Jeanette Doran, in collaboration with Gene Boyce and Dan Boyce of the Boyce & Isley law firm, filed a Notice of Appeal and Petition for Discretionary Review on behalf of Plaintiffs W.D. Goldston, Jr. and James E. Harrington in a case challenging diversion of taxes specifically collected for the building of specific roads and highways and placed in North Carolina’s Highway Trust Fund. The funds were transferred by Governor Mike Easley and the North Carolina General Assembly to the State’s general fund in order to balance the State’s budget. On September 7th, NCICL participated in oral arguments when this case went before the N.C. Supreme Court.


August at NCICL
Elizabeth Lincicome
Aug 31st, 2010

This case was brought by North Carolina public charter schools and parents and students affiliated with those schools who challenged the constitutionality of the State’s inequitable funding system for public charter schools. On August 10th, NCICL attorneys received the printed Record on Appeal from the N.C. Court of Appeals.


July 2010 at NCICL
Elizabeth Lincicome
Aug 3rd, 2010

This case was brought by North Carolina public charter schools and parents and students affiliated with those schools who challenged the constitutionality of the State’s inequitable funding system for public charter schools. On June 21st, attorneys Robert Orr and Jason Kay filed a Notice of Appeal to the N.C. Court of Appeals. The parties involved have finalized the Record on Appeal and the appeal is moving forward.


June 2010 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Elizabeth Lincicome
Jul 1st, 2010

The Certificate of Need suit challenges the practically unlimited discretion of the State Health Coordinating Council (SHCC) in deciding who gets to offer new institutional health care services. The SHCC produces the State Medical Facilities Plan (SMFP), which determines whether and where many new medical services will be offered. Last month, the judges involved in the case affirmed the trial court's decision and determined that the SMFP, CON process, and CON law did not violate any of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights. Most recently, on June 8th, co-counsel at Nelson Mullins, along with Robert F. Orr and Jason Kay, filed a Notice of Appeal and Petition for Discretionary Review with the NC Supreme Court.


May 2010 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
May 31st, 2010

Saine, et al., v. State, et al. (Johnson and Wales) This lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the State of North Carolina’s appropriations to Johnson and Wales University and seeks to stop any future payments and to have the millions already given to Johnson and Wales returned to the State treasury. Attorneys Robert F. Orr and Jeanette Doran filed a Notice of Appeal at the end of March and currently working toward settling the Record on Appeal.


April 2010 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
Apr 30th, 2010

Former intern William Morrison, a recent graduate, along with his wife, Lara, from the Cooley School of Law, have both passed the New York State Bar. Congratulations!


March 2010 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
Mar 31st, 2010

On March 8th, attorney Jason Kay filed a friend of the court brief in this case. The case addresses the burdens placed on emerging political parties and their constitutional rights to participate in the election process. The appeal was filed by the plaintiffs, seeking review of the trial court’s ruling on a case in which the plaintiffs alleged that the state statutes governing the recognition of political parties violate the North Carolina Constitution. The trial court ruled that plaintiff’s claims did not surmount the presumption that North Carolina’s ballot access scheme is constitutional. A divided Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that statutes were constitutional under articles of the North Carolina Constitution that address the rights to free association, free speech, and equal protection of the laws. While the Court of Appeals panel unanimously held that the statutes infringed on fundamental constitutional rights and, therefore, the statutes must survive strict scrutiny, a majority of the panel took the position that the legislature had met this high constitutional burden, holding that the infringing statutes were narrowly tailored to achieve only the alleged compelling state interest.


February 2010 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
Feb 28th, 2010

"[G]overnment is instituted, and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety… [T]he people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution." –James Madison


January 2010 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
Feb 1st, 2010

On January 21st, Senior Staff Attorney Jason Kay appeared as the Guest Speaker to the Law and Public Policy Luncheon. Discussion centered around the case Libertarian Party of NC v. State which is a constitutional challenge to North Carolina's ballot access restrictions. Kay discussed, among other things: North Carolina's ballot access laws and the obstacles they create for emerging political parties; the constitutional rights of political parties to participate in the election process; and the primary legal issues in Libertarian Party of NC v. State.


December 2009 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
Dec 31st, 2009

Everyone here at NCICL wishes you the best of this holiday season! Thank you for all of your interest and support in 2009. We look forward to the upcoming year and continuing to be advocates for the freedoms afforded to us by our state and federal constitutions and for governmental compliance with the constitutional limitations that ensure us those freedoms. With your continued support in this new year, we will continue to work hard to further our successes in pursuit of these endeavors. Happy New Year!


November 2009 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
Nov 30th, 2009

On November 24th, NCICL Executive Director Robert F. Orr and Senior Staff Attorney Jeanette Doran filed a motion requesting permission to file an amicus curiae brief at the North Carolina Supreme Court in a case that concerns the authority of certain government officers whose terms have expired. On June 17th, 2008, the Court of Appeals ruled that a decision made by a three member panel of the Industrial Commission was not valid because one member of the panel had no authority as a Commission member once his replacement was appointed and that appointment was made the same day the panel released its decision. Pursuant to statute, the Commissioner in question had been serving in a hold-over capacity since 2004 when his term expired.


October 2009 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
Oct 31st, 2009

On October 20th, Bob Orr and Jeanette Doran, in collaboration with Gene Boyce and Dan Boyce of the Boyce & Isley law firm, filed a Notice of Appeal and Petition for Discretionary Review in a case challenging diversion of taxes specifically collected for the building of specific roads and highways and placed in North Carolina’s Highway Trust Fund. NCICL was contacted by Boyce & Isley following last month’s Court of Appeals decision and asked to join in the Supreme Court appeal. Last month, the Court of Appeals ruled that the State Constitution prohibits the Governor from transferring money from the Highway Trust Fund to the State’s General Fund in an effort to balance the budget, but also ruled that the General Assembly could make such transfers and that “trust fund” principles were not applicable even though the money had been placed in the “Highway Trust Fund.” This case has already been to the Supreme Court on the question of whether the Plaintiffs, Goldston and Harrington, had the right to file the lawsuit. In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Goldston and Harrington and sent the case back to the trial court saying taxpayers have the right to challenge the unconstitutional misuse of public funds. NCICL filed a friend of the court brief in the previous appeal and has closely followed the case since its inception.


September 2009 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
Sep 30th, 2009

On September 16th, attorneys Robert F. Orr and Jeanette Doran filed a lawsuit on behalf of two taxpayers from the Charlotte Metro area. The lawsuit, filed in Wake County Superior Court, challenges the constitutionality of the State of North Carolina’s appropriations to Johnson and Wales University, a private cooking and hospitality school in Charlotte. The State has already appropriated several million dollars to the cooking school to fulfill individual promises made by various officials. The lawsuit seeks to stop any future payments and to have the millions already given to Johnson and Wales returned to the State treasury. “This is simply a gift from a handful of officials to the school,” said Jeanette Doran, Senior Staff Attorney at NCICL, “unfortunately it is one the taxpayers are footing the bill for. This is the kind of abuse of the public’s money that the constitution forbids.”


August 2009 at NCICL
Cynthia Crowdus & Kristin Mar
Aug 31st, 2009

On August 10th, Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning responded to the Plaintiffs’ challenge that a special fee imposed on all attorneys in the state violates the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Rights of the North Carolina Constitution because it forces the plaintiffs and other attorneys to support the political campaigns of judicial candidates with whom they may strenuously disagree. Judge Manning ruled that the fee violates the First Amendment when used to fund campaigns of candidates for Court of Appeals judge and Supreme Court justice. The decision comes nearly two years after NCICL filed the lawsuit on behalf of a group of public defenders in Mecklenburg County who were ordered to pay the fee or face suspension of their law licenses. “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson