Economic Liberty

North Carolina CON Law Oral Argument

On April 17, 2024 the Institute for Justice (IJ) presented oral argument before the Supreme Court of North Carolina presenting the theory that Dr. Jay Singleton’s constitutional right to economic liberty had been violated. Under current law the state requires a certificate of need (CON) to perform surgeries at his own medical facility, instead he is legally required to perform surgeries at the local hospital, CarolinaEast, which charges thousands of dollars more.

The CON law has nothing to do with safety, quality, or ease of access for potential clients. Instead, a state agency has determined there is no “need” for Dr. Singleton’s operating room because there is already a hospital two miles down the road. That determination looks even more arbitrary in light of last year’s CON reform bill—fittingly titled “An Act To Provide North Carolina Citizens With Greater Access To Healthcare Options”—which exempted operating rooms in urban counties (where 67% of North Carolinians live) from the CON law entirely. Rural providers like Dr. Singleton—and his patients who seek more affordable access to care—remain out of luck.

IJ and Dr. Singleton now await a decision by the court.

Watch Hearing

Attorney Who Argued The Hearing

Joshua Windham

Attorney and Elfie Gallun Fellow in Freedom and the Constitution

about the case