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Bob Orr

Office District Status
Advocate Statewide Advocate
Party In Office Since Term Ends
Republican
Level of Government  
Advocates  
Date of Birth Birthplace Now Lives In
October 11, 1946 Norfolk, VA Burnsville, NC

Synopsis

Bob Orr is a well-known judicial activist and former state Supreme Court justice. Orr served three years in the Army then worked as a lawyer in Asheville. In 1986, he was appointed by Gov. Jim Martin to the N.C. Court of Appeals, and he won elections to the court in 1988 and 1992. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1994 and 2002. As a justice, he wrote a noted opinion in Hoke County Board of Education vs. State which argued that the educating children to become "contributing, constructive members of society" is "paramount." In 2004, he stepped down to run the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, a conservative advocacy group founded by Raleigh businessman Art Pope that sued the state over the lottery, tax-increment financing and tax incentives for Dell. After coming in fourth place, he returned to the NCICL. 

Trivia

He covered the 1971 legislature for TV station WSOC in Charlotte. 

Endorsements

Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, Black Business Owners Professionals and Entrepeneurs, Wayland Group

Biography

Marital Status
Married
Spouse
Louise
Children
Sons, Robert and William; daughters, Kelly and Louise

Bob Orr is a well-known judicial activist, former state Supreme Court justice and one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Early Life and Education

Robert Flynn Orr was born on Oct. 11, 1946, in Norfolk, Va., to Robert Kay and Minnie Sue Flynn Orr. His family soon moved to North Carolina.

His father worked as manager of the shipping department for Cranston Print Works outside of Hendersonville and his mother was an elementary school teacher.

Orr graduated from Hendersonville High School in 1964, then studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill until the spring of 1968.

He then enlisted in the Army, serving at Kaiserslautern, Germany, from 1969 to 1971, earning the rank of specialist fifth class.

Orr then finished up courses at UNC's summer school, earning a bachelor of arts in Radio-TV-Motion Pictures in 1971.

In 1975, he earned a law degree from UNC.

Family

Orr and his wife, Louise, have a teen-aged daughter, also named Louise.

He has three grown children, Robert, William and Kelly, from a previous marriage.

Professional Career

After law school, Orr worked three years for a small law firm in Asheville which was then known as Bennett, Kelly and Cagle. He then started his own firm with Ron Payne, now a Superior Court judge in Asheville.

From 1981 to 1982, he served as district administrative assistant for U.S. Rep. Bill Hendon, a Republican from the 11th District. Orr then returned to private practice.

In the mid 1980s, Gov. Jim Martin appointed him to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. 

In September of 1986, Martin appointed Orr to the N.C. Court of Appeals. He lost an election for the seat in November to Eddie Green, but Martin then appointed him to another vacancy on the Appeals court.

He won elections to the court in 1988 and 1992.

He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1994 and 2002.

From 1989 to 2006, Orr also taught at least one course per year at a Triangle area law school.

Notable Opinions

In 1996, Orr dissented in Maready v. Winston-Salem, in which a 5-2 majority on the Supreme Court found that cash and tax breaks given to 24 companies in Forsyth County were allowable.

In a dissent, Orr argued that the incentives amounted to "corporate welfare" and were unconstitutional.

In 1998, Orr dissented in Stone v. N.C. Department of Labor, in which a 5-2 majority on the Supreme Court found that the state could not be held liable for failling to inspect a chicken plant that later caught fire, killing 25 people.

In a blistering dissent, he wrote that the decision would "effectively eviscerate" the 1951 law that makes the state liable to civil lawsuits.

In 2004, he wrote a majority opinion in Hoke County Board of Education vs. State which argued that educating children to become "contributing, constructive members of society" is "paramount."

Other notable opinions include Leandro v. State, Price v. Howard and Stephenson v. Bartlett.

Political Advocacy

In 2004, he stepped down to run the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, a conservative advocacy group founded by Raleigh businessman Art Pope that sued the state over the lottery, tax-increment financing and tax incentives for Dell.

He and Pope first met when they worked together on Jim Martin's successful 1984 gubernatorial campaign. 

Gubernatorial Campaign

On Feb. 1, he filed paperwork to form a committee to run for the Republican nomination for governor, forgoing the usual kickoff almost by accident.

In his campaign, he argued that the state should restrict driver's licenses only to legal residents, document spending on immigrants and potentially sue the federal government to recoup those costs.

He also proposed ending the use of business incentives, reducing the number of health insurance mandates, reforming the state Department of Transportation, making the superintendent of public instruction an appointed position, 

He frequently cited the state constitution in explaining his positions.

Orr ran a low-budget campaign, relying on a campaign blog, being available to reporters and touring the state in a pickup truck he called "Orr Force One" to make his case. He was the only Republican to attend a gubernatorial forum sponsored by the NAACP.

He faced state Sen. Fred Smith, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, Salisbury attorney Bill Graham and pecan grower Elbie Powers in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

He was endorsed by the Winston-Salem Journal editorial board, former Gov. Jim Martin, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr., the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, the Black Political Caucus of Mecklenburg, the Black Business Owners Professionals and Entrepeneurs and Wayland Group.

After coming in fourth out of five in the GOP primary, he returned to the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law.

Research and reporting by Ryan Teague Beckwith and Rob Christensen.

Occupation

Attorney







Community Involvement:
Not specified.

Contact Info

Email: campaign@orr2008.com

Orr for Governor
P.O. box 1627, Raleigh, N.C. 27602
919-836-2228




Education

bachelor of arts in radio-TV-motion pictures
UNC-Chapel Hill
Graduated: 1971
juris doctorate
UNC-Chapel Hill
Graduated: 1975


Military

Years of service:
1969-1971
Branch:
Army
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