Civitas Review

What If Trump Thinks He's Already Won?


One of my colleagues, Demi Dowdy, and I were talking about whether Donald Trump would lead a third-party movement, which the Republican presidential hopeful has said he wouldn’t do. I said I doubted Trump, who loves "winning," would try such a bid, which would be doomed to fail.  That would  make Trump a loser, and he hates being a loser.

But then another hypothesis came to me: what if Trump said he wouldn’t make a third-party bid because he’s already confident he’ll get the Republican nomination?

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Supreme Court Grants PLF Admission, Allows Joint Brief in Map Act Case


The North Carolina Supreme Court today granted the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF)'s motion for the pro hac vice admission of the Pacific Legal Foundation's Mark Miller and a CLF/PLF joint motion to file an amicus brief in Kirby v. DOT, more widely known as the "Map Act" case. The brief was submitted to the Court along with the motion for leave to file.

The motions were both uncontested and within the discretion of the Court to allow or reject. The Court will now be able to consider the arguments made in the joint PLF/CLF amicus brief when it renders a final decision next year. Oral arguments have been scheduled for Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

At issue in the case is whether the state's use of the Map Act constitutes a "taking" which requires just compensation to affected landowners.

Obamacare Medical Device Tax to be Scrapped?


Let's hope so. From the N&O:

A proposed Affordable Care Act tax freeze affecting nearly 100 North Carolina manufacturers would keep millions of dollars in the state over the next two years if Congress passes this week’s negotiated budget deal.   

Some in Congress have had an eye on axing the ACA’s medical device manufacturing tax since it went into effect with other mandates and taxes on Jan. 1, 2013. The Congressional Budget Office estimates a repeal of the tax would cost the federal government more than $24 billion over the next decade in revenue, adding to the national deficit. (translation: will save taxpayers $24 billion – BB)


As proposed in this week’s major omnibus spending bill – hammered out by House leaders while the federal government has operated under stopgap spending measures to avoid a shutdown – the medical device tax would be frozen in 2016 and 2017. The sales tax applies to medical devices sold to physicians and other health care professionals, not retail medical equipment sold for in-home use.

The tax freeze would give relief to one of the Research Triangle’s largest employment sectors. Across the state, there are more than 100 medical-device production and manufacturing businesses, according to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, an economic development nonprofit entity funded by the state.

Perhaps the most interesting passage from the article was this: "Some pushing for such a freeze, such as U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., have said the tax hampers the biotechnology and medical industries’ ability to innovate and expand, creating jobs."
Taxes "hamper" economic growth and job creation? Who knew?

Fact-checking the N&O


Yesterday, John Murawski over at the News & Observer reported on a judge's denial of the Attorney General's motion to dismiss in Owens v. North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The case, brought by the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF) on behalf of Perquimans County landowners, alleges that the Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) violated North Carolina law when it informed Iberdrola Renewables that the corporation's Desert Wind Project (now the Amazon Wind Farm East) would not be subjected to state permitting standards. Earlier this week Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter denied a motion to dismiss filed by the Attorney General, who is defending the case for NCDEQ, clearing the way for the case to proceed to a contested case hearing.

We'll walk through the News & Observer report and provide some commentary.

A Raleigh judge has refused to throw out a citizen lawsuit seeking to block the Amazon Wind Farm in eastern North Carolina, setting the legal dispute for trial next year.

The judge is technically sitting in Perquimans County, and that is where any hearings will take place.

Administrative Law Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter on Monday denied a request to dismiss the lawsuit filed by two residents of Perquimans County, where the 104-turbine energy project is several months into construction.

The husband-and-wife litigants – fireman Stephen Owens and IT administrator Jillanne Badawi – want to force the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality to subject the Amazon Wind Farm to a lengthy regulatory review that project developers have said would derail their $400-million wind farm.

If anyone is forcing DEQ to subject the Amazon Wind Farm to a lengthy regulatory review, it is the North Carolina legislature, who in 2013 enacted a state permitting process for such facilities. The Petitioners are merely asking that the Court require DEQ to follow the law.

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