A ‘cowardly power grab’ against incoming N.C. Democratic governor

North Carolina Gov.-elect Roy Cooper. AP file.

North Carolina Gov.-elect Roy Cooper. AP file.

The constitutional crisis unfolding in North Carolina right now might seem familiar to Georgia politicos.

There were no surprise special sessions when newly-empowered Republicans limited Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor’s powers after taking control of the state Senate after the 2002 election. But the GOP caucus still effectively sidelined the statewide officer, despite the protests of leading Democrats.

A similar scenario is playing out now on a broader scale in North Carolina, where Republican legislative leaders are moving to strip Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper’s powers before he takes office. Since he won’t take office until January, he won’t be able to veto the measures.

“Major changes in the way state government operates should be done deliberately, with input from all parties, particularly something as important as elections and making sure people have the opportunity to vote,” Cooper, the state’s attorney general, told reporters. “They shouldn’t be pushed through in the dark of night.”

North Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Jamal Little went a step further, calling it a GOP attempt to “usurp” power after Republican Gov. Pat McCrory became one of the few conservative casualties of the November election.

“This is an unprecedented, shameful and cowardly power grab from Republicans,” he said in a statement. “After losing the governor’s office, the GOP-controlled General Assembly is attempting to hold on to the power that voters took away from them.”

Among the measures up for debate  is a proposal that would require the state Senate to approve Cooper’s Cabinet appointments that cleared two committees on Thursday.

Other measures would limit his selections to boards overseeing the state’s higher education system and K-12 network, strip the governor’s control of the state election board and slash the number of employees working for the governor from 1,500 to 300.

North Carolina House Rules Chairman David Lewis, one of the supporters of the measures, pitched it as a simple matter of checks-and-balances. He told reporters Thursday that the legislative branch aims “to establish that we are going to continue to be a relevant party in governing this state.”

“I think to be candid with you, that you will see the General Assembly look to reassert its constitutional authority in areas that may have been previously delegated to the executive branch,” he said.

The drama unfolded about a week after McCrory conceded defeat to Cooper after a recount showed he lost by about 10,000 votes out of nearly 5 million ballots cast. The Republican had resisted for nearly a month, and his loss was seen by many Georgia lawmakers as a cautionary tale of  the dangers of supporting contentious social legislation.

Democrats, meanwhile, raised the specter of a legal challenge if Republicans push forward with their plans. Several Democratic lawmakers contended the special session was unconstitutional, and Cooper said his attorneys were vetting every bill that was introduced in search of legal flaws.

“They will see me in court,” he said. “And they don’t have a very good track record there.”

Reader Comments 0

3 comments
weetamoe
weetamoe

Not as bad as a feckless president picking a fight with a powerful adversary 30 days before he flits away from Washington and leaving his many messes for the new administration to clean up.

rbibus
rbibus

@weetamoe Colin Powell had it right - Trump is a national embarrassment, and shows us that yes history repeats itself again - other wise decent people are capable of deplorable actions(voting for Trump).  The opposition to our current honorable president - is another reminder that whenever people of color get any perceived achievement or advancement - there is an immediate white backlash.  We have a president elect who is a selfish, business fraud, who doesn't pay his taxes to support our military - among a whole laundry list of other deplorable actions. George Will and the Bushes had it right about Trump - he is a low character person who has no political allegiance to anyone except his own bottom line. We've had honorable first wives - Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama - now we have an incoming first wife with nude pictures all over the internet. Not to mention the active endorsement of antisemites, and white supremacists - and the new Trump white house staff has active sympathizers for their deplorable ideas in the form of Steve Bannon and his hateful Brietbart news.  Heaven help us!

jatogep
jatogep

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