Raleigh, N.C. — It seems a day on Jones Street is no longer complete without a row between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican legislative leaders, and there were two of them Tuesday.
First, Cooper and Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein announced that they plan to drop the state's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of a ruling that tossed the state's voter ID requirement, limits on early voting and the elimination of same-day voter registration. Former Gov. Pat McCrory appealed the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling before he left office.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore said Cooper and Stein didn't hire the outside attorneys representing the state in the matter, so they couldn't fire them. They also noted state law allows them to represent challenges to state laws when the attorney general refuses to do so.
If that wasn't enough, Cooper fired a shot across the General Assembly's bow when his lawyer told senators they couldn't hold a confirmation hearing for one of the governor's cabinet appointees as planned on Wednesday because a court order allowing the confirmation process to continue amid a legal challenge noted that Cooper has until mid-May to submit the names of his nominees for confirmation.
Meanwhile, the House passed its formal rules for the 2017-18 session – four weeks after the session started in earnest – after a few tussles over trying to link budget earmarks to specific lawmakers and requiring timely votes on veto overrides.
Legislation that would make races for Superior Court and District Court judgeships partisan affairs is headed to the House floor after clearing a committee.