My initial reaction to the N.C. Court of Appeals’ latest ruling in a certificate-of-need dispute: Why do judges have anything to do with this process?

To save most of you the effort of reading the eight-page opinion, the bottom line is that both Raleigh Radiology and Duke University Health system want to add an MRI machine in Wake County.

The state’s certificate-of-need process determined in 2016 that only one such MRI machine would be permitted. Raleigh Radiology and Duke have been fighting in court for nearly three years over the right to secure the state CON for that single machine.

Much time and money could have been devoted to other more pressing needs if Duke and Raleigh Radiology had been free to decide on their own — without state restrictions — whether to add MRI machines.

What would have been the worst outcome? That patients would have two more options now for MRIs in Wake County?