Sponge Bob Squeezed by Judge Wynn?
Bob Orr gave up his seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court to carry water for Art Pope. But based on Orr's performance today representing plaintiffs in the North Carolina Court of Appeals, it looks like they both got the short end of the same stick.
The AP story today ostensibly involved Orr's long-standing objections to the payment of economic incentives (tax dollars) to lure companies to North Carolina. Underneath that story, however, is the saga of a stressed-out man caught in a pickle. Orr is running for governor without a job, without a personal fortune, and with an albatross named Art Pope hanging around his neck.
Orr represents seven individual taxpayers who argued the General Assembly and local governments shouldn't have been able to target financial incentives for the computer maker that could exceed $300 million in value. A trial judge threw out the lawsuit last year, but Orr wants that decision reversed and the lawsuit tried.
The issue comes down to one simple question: Do economic incentives offered to private companies qualify as "public purpose." The state says they do - the purpose being economic development, a thriving economy and jobs. Orr says they don't.
(The court) saved most of their questions for Orr, asking how the individuals had standing to sue although they aren't business owners who could allege harm from Dell's incentives. When Orr questioned the 1996 Supreme Court ruling that upheld incentives, Wynn interjected when Orr said the majority ruling at that time had attempted but failed to set new rules for determining whether incentives were lawful. Orr wrote the dissenting opinion in the case while on the court.
"When they write the law, it doesn't sound like an attempt to me," Wynn told Orr.
Bob Orr needs to go back and watch Star Wars, where old Yoda tells Luke, "There is no try, there is do or do not." Because it sure as heck looks like Wynn is siding with the Jedi master.
In any case (heh), it doesn't seem to me that Orr has all that much on the ball. I'm no lawyer, but it's hard to imagine the Court of Appeals buying Bob's lame attempt to rewrite history. I know that's what Art Pope wants him to do, but you can't always get what you want, not even when you're the Puppetmaster.
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