NC Supreme Court deadlocks on lottery

March 20, 2009 11:28:21 AM PDT
Supporters of the North Carolina Education Lottery won a victory Friday when the North Carolina Supreme Court deadlocked on whether the vote to create the games was legal.Three of the seven justices said the lottery law was unconstitutional and three others disagreed. A seventh justice, Mark Martin, had recused himself and didn't vote.

The 3-3 decision means a 2007 state Court of Appeals ruling remains in place, allowing the sale of lottery tickets to continue.

"We're disappointed that we didn't get a decision on the merits" of the case, said Bob Orr, an attorney who represented some of the plaintiffs who filed suit before the first tickets were sold in March 2006.

Taxpayers and advocacy groups sued before the first tickets were sold in March 2006, arguing that the General Assembly didn't pass the lottery legislation properly in 2005. They said the state constitution required the House and Senate to each hold two separate votes on separate days. Each chamber only took one day.

Attorneys for the state responded that the law was approved appropriately.


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