Submitted by teddyrooseveltp... on Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:27pm
Attorney General Roy Cooper, who was previously announced as a keynote speaker at the Equality NC gala, seems to have gone into full campaign mode, posting an op-ed that suspiciously sounds like a stump speech at Huffington Post.
But what may be even more important is the effect those policies have on a state's self- image and what it shows to the rest of the world. North Carolina has had much success for fifty years, not just because we were on the leading edge of change in the American south, but also because we embraced this change as a natural part of our state's heritage and history.
Never known to be a champion of anything, Roy Cooper today came out ... in favor of marriage equality. I guess it's better late than never. Still, it's kind of amusing to see all the swooning from the folks at Equality NC. Via email:
We're proud to let you know that N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper - our keynote speaker for the 2013 Equality NC Foundation Gala - just announced his public support for marriage equality. With Mr. Cooper's endorsement of the freedom to marry, he joins a fast-growing majority of fair-minded North Carolinians who believe in legal relationship recognitions for LGBT citizens.
Unfortunately, only one day after Mr. Cooper announced he'd be joining us for the Equality Gala, extremist groups like the NC Family Policy Council came out of the woodwork demanding their supporters boycott our annual event, entitled "A Celebration of Home."
By passing their monster Voter Suppression Bill, Republicans in Raleigh violated the letter and the spirit of the North Carolina Constitution. Roy Cooper was right to call the bill regressive and he was right to say it would make voting harder for working people. Roy's statements may have been politically controversial, but they were right as rain.
Naturally, Republicans responded by giving themselves the authority to defend their indefensible laws, and now they're going to pay millions of dollars we don't have to hire private lawyers to represent the state. There's no reason for the AG's office to pledge to work with those private lawyers if Mr. Cooper believes they are undermining the state Constitution. On the contrary, there's every reason to do the exact opposite.
The legislature has failed in its constitutional duties and someone has to hold them accountable. The Department of Justice is on the case, as well they should be. The office of the state Attorney General should be on the case too ... representing the People of North Carolina against an over-reaching legislature.
Attorney General Roy Cooper said Tuesday that his office doesn't need any help in defending the state's new elections law but pledged his office will work with lawyers hired by Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature.
"Our office has the primary responsibility for defending this and other lawsuits," Cooper said. "I think it's unnecessary to hire additional attorneys. They certainly have the authority to do that under the law, and they've done it. ... Unfortunately, I think it just ends up costing more money."
Cooper, a Democrat, opposed the elections legislation – passed by a Republican-controlled legislature and signed by a Republican governor – as it moved through the legislature.He has called the bill "regressive" and said it would make it harder for "working people" to vote -- comments that were echoed in the federal lawsuit.
Today (Monday), Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce a lawsuit against the State of North Carolina over the voter suppression bill passed by House Speaker Thom Tillis and the North Carolina General Assembly:
In the North Carolina lawsuit... the government will challenge requirements in state law that eliminate the first seven days of early voting opportunities and eliminate same-day voter registration during the early voting period...
The Justice Department challenge also is aimed at a provision eliminating the counting of certain types of provisional ballots by voters who cast ballots in their home counties but do not vote in the correct precincts.
I got another email from Roy Cooper today. This one came at 11:21 am, a time when most people with real jobs are busy working. The subject line said "An end and a beginning." Here's the text:
September 1st marked the end of an innovative North Carolina program to encourage 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote. It's demise was part of the draconian elections overhaul passed by the legislature and signed by the governor last month that makes it harder for North Carolinians to register and vote.
What's more, the new law opens the door to more corporate money into the elections system, limits disclosures of contributions, prevents people from casting a provisional ballot when they go to the wrong precinct and the list goes on.
Rob Christensen's story about Ken Spaulding's announcement for governor ran in the N&O this morning. If that's your only source of news, you can be forgiven for thinking there are no other candidates already in the race against McCrory. There are.
Cooper responded by noting that his personal opinions have no bearing on him carrying out his legal obligations as attorney general. “It’s the duty of this office to defend state laws in court whether or not I agree with them, and we have an excellent track record,” Cooper said in a statement. “My ultimate duty is to the people of North Carolina, and I’m going to tell them what I think about laws that have an impact on their lives, and that includes trying to stop bad laws and advocating for good ones.”
Roy Cooper has a moral dilemma. If he tries to defend the Voter Suppression Act, he'll be violating his commitment to the people of North Carolina. If he doesn't try to defend it, he'll be shirking one of the formal requirements of his position as Attorney General.
Anticipating that the Democratic AG would refuse to defend their blatant contempt for our Constitution, on July 25th, the Senate managed to parasitically amend the Civil Action section of our General Statutes to give the Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem, joint standing to intervene in cases involving constitutional challenges to state law. This time HB 834, related to health care, served as the hapless host.
DAG McCrory has yet to sign it. But, when the levers move his hand across the signature line, the outlaws on Jones Street will have effectively declared themselves the new Sheriff in town. Their breach of the constitutional separation between the legislative and executive branches not withstanding, Roy Cooper's decision whether or not to defend HB 589 (or any of the tyranny) has pretty much been made for him.
Still empowered to actively defend the parts of our Constitution left unsullied, though, the AG ought to make best use of his good fortune and direct his SBI to launch a thorough investigation into the institutionalized racketeering lying at the very heart of our legislative nightmare. Art Pope's under-the-radar power grabbing, over much of the last two decades, is damning enough. But his appointment to the unelected post of State Budget Director, by a Governor who owes him plenty, absolutely reeks of collusion.
I got another email from Roy Cooper this morning. The subject line said "appalled" and the text was brief.
Yesterday, despite being warned of its consequences, Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB 589 into law. This regressive elections law restricts voting, allows more corporate money into politics and reduces public disclosure for special interests looking to influence elections. Plus it cuts short the time for early voting and stops those who go to the wrong precinct from casting provisional ballots. And on and on.
I urged the Governor to veto and more than 17,000 of you joined me in just four days.
Though I’m appalled that the bill is now law, I am encouraged by your response.
I suppose any successful politician has to have an ego the size of Mount Mitchell, but that doesn't make it any more palatable. Because the truth is, we the people are not joining Roy Cooper in "the effort," he's joining us. And he's already turning our fight for justice into a fundraising appeal for his next campaign.
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