White v. Pate

Citation58 N.C.App. 402,293 S.E.2d 601
Decision Date20 July 1982
Docket NumberNo. 813SC1140,813SC1140
CourtCourt of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
PartiesHazel WHITE, Beatrice McCoy, Artis Chadwick, Linwood Chadwick, and Mary H. White v. Dorothy PATE, Clerk of Superior Court of Craven County; and S. W. McCoy, Fletcher McCoy, and Carlton Ward, Commissioners of the Core Creek Drainage District.

Atty. Gen. Rufus L. Edmisten by Deputy Atty. Gen. Millard R. Rich, Jr., Raleigh, for defendant-appellee Dorothy Pate, Clerk of Superior Court, Craven County.

Ward & Smith by William Joseph Austin, Jr., New Bern, for defendants-appellees, the Com'rs of the Core Creek Drainage District.

Smith, Patterson, Follin, Curtis, James and Harkavy by Norman B. Smith, Greensboro, for plaintiffs-appellants.

CLARK, Judge.

We elect to proceed directly to the constitutional question without considering whether the trial court erred in the rulings relating to collateral attack and to joinder of necessary parties. Plaintiffs here contend that G.S. 156-81, which provides for election of drainage commissioners, or their appointment by the Clerk of Superior Court is unconstitutional in that it deprives them of voting rights given landowners in other districts of the State where the commissioners are elected. We disagree.

As a general rule, our courts give deference to the legislature and indulge every presumption in favor of the constitutionality of statutes. Marks v. Thompson, 282 N.C. 174, 192 S.E.2d 311 (1972). The provisions of G.S. 156-81(a) and (i) which give the Clerk of Superior Court the discretionary authority to appoint drainage commissioners apply statewide. Nesbit v. Kafer, 222 N.C. 48, 21 S.E.2d 903 (1942). Every Clerk of Court in a county in which a drainage district is located has the same authority. Therefore, the law applies uniformly to all eligible counties in this State. See Cheek v. City of Charlotte, 273 N.C. 293, 160 S.E.2d 18 (1968). The result would be different if the statute mandated election of commissioners in some districts and appointment in other districts, since all counties would not be treated the same.

We, therefore, hold that G.S. 156-81(a) and (i) which provide for the appointment of drainage commissioners by the clerk are constitutional and do not violate plaintiffs' equal protection rights under the United States and North Carolina Constitutions. We find that the Clerk of Craven County properly exercised her discretionary authority to appoint the drainage district commissioners....

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2 cases
  • Rawls v. Lampert, 811SC1157
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • July 20, 1982
    ......Archbell, Jr., Kitty Hawk, for plaintiff-appellant.         Kellogg, White, Evans, Sharp & Michael by Steven D. Michael, Manteo, and Henderson & Shuford by Robert E. ......
  • White v. Pate
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • October 5, 1982
    ...Raleigh, for Dorothy Pate. Plaintiffs' petition for writ of certiorari to review the decision of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, 293 S.E.2d 601, ...

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