North Carolina judges sided Thursday with Republican legislators who stripped down the election oversight authorities of Gov. Roy Cooper. A three-judge panel unanimously dismissed a lawsuit by Cooper, who challenged the law as unconstitutional. The judges offered no reasons for their decision, issued within hours of hearing lawyers for Cooper and the Republican-dominated General Assembly argue about the law. The lawsuit that is part of the ongoing political battle that began after Cooper narrowly beat incumbent GOP Gov. Pat McCrory last year. GOP lawmakers have sought to defang Cooper’s powers ever since. Cooper plans to appeal the ruling, said his spokesman, Ford Porter.
For more than a century, state and county election boards have had an odd number of members, with the majority belonging to the governor’s political party. The General Assembly tried to alter the law in December, two weeks before Cooper took office. But the elections revamp was blocked by the same judicial panel that heard Thursday’s challenge. Lawmakers passed a revised version over Cooper’s veto in April and the governor sued.
Cooper’s ability to carry out his duty to faithfully execute election laws was crippled because the law takes away his ability to appoint, manage and replace state elections officials. That violates the constitution’s separation of powers, Cooper attorney Jim Phillips Jr. said.
Full Article: Judges uphold law diminishing governor’s elections role.