Raleigh, N.C. — State lawmakers are disregarding Gov. Roy Cooper's call Wednesday for an extra session to redraw the legislative districts struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thursday morning, House Speaker Tim Moore ruled in favor of a constitutional appeal made by House Rules Chairman David Lewis, R-Harnett, that the call was not constitutional.
The state constitution gives the governor the power to call lawmakers into an extra session "on extraordinary occasions, by and with the advice of the Council of State."
Lewis argued that there is no "extraordinary occasion" here because the General Assembly is already in regular session and can conduct its business in regular order. He also argued that a federal court order mandated lawmakers to redraw the maps in "regular session," not a special session.
Lewis also argued that Cooper had not "meaningfully complied" with the requirement to seek the advice of the Council of State before making the call.
After Moore ruled in favor of Lewis's protest, Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake, filed an appeal of the ruling, but the appeal was voted down on party lines, 44-71.
The Senate quickly followed suit with a similar move, effectively canceling the extra session scheduled in both chambers for 2 p.m.
Cooper spokesman Ford Porter said the General Assembly was "thumbing its nose" at the courts and the state constitution.
"It's troubling that they prefer to fight about the process rather than draw the new map that North Carolina voters deserve to level the playing field of our democracy. The U.S. Supreme Court was unanimous in its decision, and there is no reason to delay the drawing of new maps," Porter said in a statement.
But Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, said lawmakers "refuse to be manipulated" by Cooper.
"Despite all his talk about separation of powers, it’s clear Roy Cooper wants to be North Carolina’s governor, legislature and, with this latest stunt, its judiciary too," Hise said in a statement. "The courts have yet to give the legislature direction on this matter, and we will be prepared to undertake a thorough redistricting process with ample notice and opportunities for public input when they do."