A prominent law firm is disputing the authority of Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein to withdraw a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold North Carolina’s hotly debated voter ID law. An attorney with the Ogletree Deakins law firm contends that the Republican-led General Assembly hired it more than three years ago to defend the controversial measure on behalf of state government. That means the two Democratic officials overstepped their authority this week when they sought to fire the firm and to independently scuttle the appeal of last year’s lower-court ruling that rejected parts of the law as unconstitutional, Raleigh-based lawyer Thomas A. Farr said in a letter.
“It is clear that neither the governor nor the attorney general has the authority to move to dismiss the (Supreme Court appeal) without the consent of the General Assembly or its counsel,” Farr said in his letter to attorneys representing Cooper and Stein.
Farr said in the letter that he and his firm “intend to continue representing our clients,” the General Assembly, in pressing forward with the appeal.
In contrast, Cooper and Stein agree with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision last summer, which struck down several parts of the 2013 law in a decision that said the law was approved by GOP legislators with intentional bias against African-American voters.