Values group dings McCrory over constitutional claims

Posted November 14, 2014

Pat McCrory with David Crabtree

— A group of social conservatives blasted Republican Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday, contrasting his efforts to preserve his office's constitutional prerogatives against earlier "inaction" related to defending North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage. 

"Where was the Governor's concern for the defense of our Constitution when a rogue judge enjoined the Marriage Amendment that 61 percent of NC voters passed?" Tami Fitzgerald, director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, said in a news release.

It is unusual to see a key conservative interest group openly critical a sitting Republican governor, particularly one who has sided with them on issues such as abortion, and could be a troubling sign for McCrory in advance of the 2016 gubernatorial campaign.  

McCrory filed suit Thursday, asking the courts to strike down as unconstitutional appointments by lawmakers to boards and commissions that carry out executive functions. For example, McCrory said that {{a href=blogpost-3"}}a newly created coal ash panel impinges on his ability to oversee environmental issues{{/a}} in the state.

"It's not personal. It's a bipartisan issue in our constitutional system that happens in federal and state government," McCrory said last week. "I'm going to continue to fight for the parts of the constitution that will protect not only this governor but governors in future generations and future decades."

In a joint statement Thursday, state House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, both Republicans, dismissed the lawsuit as "costly and time-consuming" and said that such commissions had long been held to be constitutional. 

In October, when federal judges struck down the state's 2-year-old constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, McCrory said he would accept the results and direct state agencies to abide by the rulings.

"The administration is moving forward with the execution of the court's ruling and will continue to do so unless otherwise notified by the courts," {{a href="story-14066669"}}McCrory said.

While many saw McCrory's move as the right one, saving the state costly litigation against steep odds, Fitzgerald suggested that the two episodes show McCrory was more interested in defending his own power rather than the state constitution overall. 

"It is a shame when our Governor is more interested in expanding his executive power than he is in actually protecting and defending a real threat to our Constitution – the overreach of power by a federal judge who enjoined the Marriage Amendment and forced same-sex marriage on our State," she said. 

Already at odds with prominent legislative leaders, one of whom just won a hard-fought statewide campaign, Fitzgerald's missive represents another crack between McCrory and key GOP constituencies he might draw on during a 2016 re-election campaign.

During the 2014 U.S. Senate election, Fitzgerald was the North Carolina point-person for Women Speak Out, a national group opposed to abortion. Her organizations helped with get-out-the-vote efforts and aired ads on behalf of Tillis, who beat Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. 

Berger and Tillis have also taken a different stand on the marriage issue from McCrory, ordering lawyers working on behalf of the General Assembly to make a last-ditch stand against the federal court order. 

"Governor McCrory’s response to the federal government’s oppressive intrusion into a matter of state sovereignty as important as defining marriage was inaction. It was President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Speaker Thom Tillis who stepped forward to defend marriage in our state when neither Governor McCrory nor Attorney General Roy Cooper would," Fitzgerald said.


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  • Terry Watts Nov 18, 2014
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    Your "values" group is promoting the violation of Individual Constitutional Rights through discriminatory acts... I don't think they have any place (not do you in their defense) attacking anyone else's "concept of values"...

  • Robert Richardson Nov 18, 2014
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    Sad part is you really believe everything you typed.

  • Tommie Chavis Nov 18, 2014
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    Sounds like you have issues. If you want to see a concept of values take a grand ole look in the mirror and the current NC General Assembly bought and purchased by the Koch Brothers and Art Pope and Gang. The recent elections show just how powerful "MONEY" is and any political party can be purchased at the right price for the right amount of blind ignorance at their political base.

  • ncprr1 Nov 18, 2014

    From the article "It is unusual to see a key conservative interest group openly critical a sitting Republican governor"

    No, it isn't. This is a conservative VALUES group standing up for their values. The political party of the Governor has no bearing. I wouldn't expect liberal groups, like the staff at WRAL, to understand. Liberals can't understand because they have no concept of values, only politics and power. The concept is totally foreign to them.

  • Ty Rammstein Nov 17, 2014
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    ms fitzgerald is a dangerous RADICAL. she will misrepresent anything to get her anti equality beliefs to the public. wasnt it her organization who wrote to all magistrates and told them thyeycould disobey the law to marry gays? if it violated their personal beliefs? thats shows her belief in theocracy and not democracy and a total disrespect for the law.. anything she is for is suspect. poor tammy. she thinks she is doing God's work but she is so anti Christ's teachings she can not see how sick she is.

  • tracmister Nov 17, 2014

    I guess if we lived in Tammy World, segregation would still reign supreme because the will of the people in the sixties and early seventies felt that those judges were rouge judges for ruling segregation as unconstitutional.

  • noel99m Nov 17, 2014

    61 percent were wrong. The majority can wrong. A majority of southern white Americans opposed civil right legislation but they were wrong. I'm sure that 100 percent of Islamic Statetists agree with the goal of their group of murderers but they are wrong. Being in the 61 percent dies not make one right.

  • Matt Wood Nov 17, 2014
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    "It is unusual to see a key conservative interest group openly critical [of] a sitting Republican governor"

    Tami Fitzgerald never was the brightest bulb in the box.

  • mediawatcher Nov 17, 2014

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    Nice try, yourself, but you would be wrong. The majority cannot vote away the rights of the minority. That is why we have three branches of government and a checks and balance system and that's why the Federal Constitution trumps a State Constitution. And that is precisely why so many federal judges in this country have declared bans on same sex marriage unconstitutional.

  • dwntwnboy2 Nov 17, 2014

    The only "values" Tami Fitzgerald has are for her own value and job. If she doesn't do this kind of silliness, she has no reason for her position in that kangaroo organization she's in that doesn't represent the "values" of the population, only a segment of it that wants to treat others as less than full citizens. When will news organizations stop giving her and the Ralph Reed/Brian Brown types the airtime and news coverage? They don't give other groups like the klan the same coverage and they pretty much think alike.