Court candidates make their cases
Posted September 26, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — During a forum Wednesday night, the candidates for North Carolina Supreme Court were asked which case they had authored best defined their judicial philosophy.
Paul Newby, the incumbent, pointed to Southeastern Jurisdictional Admin. Council, Inc. v. Emerson The case involved whether a land management association in the Lake Junaluska could charge fees to property owners even if those fees weren't specifically authorized by the deeds. The court upheld the fees due to the association's unique history.
"Folks knew what they were buying when they bought there," Newby said. The fees, he said, were needed to light streetlights, pave roads and otherwise provide for common areas of the development. Documents in this case, he said, were out of date because they were first recorded in the 1920s. But those technical problems, he said, shouldn't stand in the way of common sense.
"When the law and common sense align, then I think that's a proper outcome ... instead of getting caught up on a technicality.
Sam Ervin, the challenger and a sitting appeals court judge, pointed to Newcomb vs Carteret. The case involved the property rights of the owners of land that abutted a harbor build by the Army Corps of Engineers. For example could landowners build dockets into the harbor or otherwise use the harbor.
"To reach that decision we had to interpret some rather elderly documents," Ervin said. He described the decision in the case as "common sense."