N. Carolina governor gets initial win in fight over cabinet

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By Colleen Jenkins | WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. A three-judge panel has
sided at least temporarily with North Carolina Democratic
Governor Roy Cooper in his fight against
a Republican-backed attempt to curtail his powers by requiring
legislative confirmation of cabinet appointments.

The law was among a series of measures approved by lawmakers
in December limiting Cooper’s executive authority after he
defeated incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory.

Cooper sued to block it, arguing that requiring Senate
consent to his cabinet secretaries was unprecedented and
unconstitutional.

In an order Tuesday evening, the trio of state judges said
the governor was likely to succeed in his challenge.

“The court is absolutely correct in their decision and
should not be intimidated by threats from legislative leaders,”
Cooper said in a statement on Wednesday.

Eight of the 10 cabinet secretaries for the state have been
appointed and sworn in.

The temporary restraining order halted a hearing set for
Wednesday to review Cooper’s appointee for secretary of the
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Republican lawmakers vowed they would eventually meet to
review the cabinet members’ qualifications and potential
conflicts of interests.

Republicans have said such confirmation hearings were lawful
and would serve as a check on executive power.

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, both
Republicans, said the judges were legislating from the bench and
called on them to reverse their order.

“In a gross misreading of the Constitution and a blatant
overstep of their Constitutional authority, three Superior Court
judges attempted to dictate to the legislature when it could or
could not hold committee meetings and what it could or could not
consider in those meetings,” the lawmakers said in a joint
statement.

“If these three men want to make laws, they should hang up
their robes and run for a legislative seat.”

The judges said they would hear the governor’s motion for a
preliminary injunction on Friday. A trial on the issue is
scheduled for March 7.



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