Local News

Supreme Court to decide lottery's legality

Posted May 19, 2008 12:43 p.m. EDT

N.C. Education Lottery

— Lottery opponents on Monday appealed a lawsuit challenging the creation of the North Carolina Education Lottery to the state Supreme Court.

In March, the state Court of Appeals rejected claims that the lottery was created illegally three years ago. The split decision by the appellate court allowed lottery opponents to appeal the case.

After a lottery bill was rushed through the General Assembly in August 2005, passing the Senate on a day when some lawmakers who would have voted against it were absent, opponents sued to block the lottery. They maintained that, under state law, the bill needed to go through three hearings on separate days because it raised revenue for the state.

“While the intent of the legislature may have been noble, good intentions do not trump the constitution,” Jeanette Doran, senior staff attorney at the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, said in a statement. "The General Assembly does not get a free pass to ignore inconvenient constitutional mandates just because legislators might mean well.”

The institute filed the appeal on behalf of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, the North Carolina Family Policy Council and several individuals, including state Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake.