Under the Dome

Dome: Cooper says GOP turning NC into playground for 'extremist fantasies'

rchristensen@newsobserver.com mcornatzer@newsobserver.comOctober 15, 2013 

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper continues to get under the skin of the state’s Republicans.

On Tuesday, Cooper, who is starting to sound more like a gubernatorial candidate, had an op-ed piece published on The Huffington Post website in which he talked about the vision of former Gov. Terry Sanford and the growth of the state under Sanford and former Gov. Jim Hunt, both Democrats.

Cooper, a Democrat, goes on to compare the past 10 months under GOP leadership with the state’s “50 years of progress,” which he says resulted in a “renowned public university system, acclaimed early childhood education, a vibrant high-tech economy, a national center of finance, a world-class tourism destination and a reputation for innovation.”

He wrote, in part: “Today, the emphasis on economic growth, public education and innovative change that has distinguished North Carolina for fifty years has reached a sudden end. For the first time since Reconstruction, North Carolina has a General Assembly and governorship controlled by the extreme factions of the Republican Party, and their legislative supermajority means their power is unchecked. In 10 short months, they have set out to deliberately and systematically undo 50 years of progress. It’s as if the Tea Party created its own playground of extremist fantasies.”

The state Republican Party immediately put out a press release calling the op-ed piece a “left-wing diatribe” and questioned his role as attorney general.

“Roy Cooper has given up on his job as attorney general and is now fully devoting his energy to winning the Democrat primary on the taxpayer’s dime by taking up far-left positions and convincing the fringe of his party that he’s a diehard liberal,” said Claude Pope, the state GOP chairman, in the statement.

Newby challenged on redistricting

The NC Insider reports that groups challenging the state’s legislative and congressional districts are again asking the N.C. Supreme Court to have Justice Paul Newby step aside from hearing the case.

From the Insider: “Lawyers representing the NAACP and other plaintiffs challenging the maps filed lengthy briefs on Friday as they appeal a lower court ruling that upheld the new districts. The filings raise the issue of whether Newby should take part in hearing the case in light of campaign money that flowed from a Washington-based Republican Party group supporting his candidacy. The same group, the Republican State Leadership Committee, also employed a consultant, Tom Hofeller, that GOP lawmakers referred to as the chief architect of the congressional and legislative district plans.

The brief says that unless Newby recuses himself he will “rule on the validity of redistricting plans that were drawn, endorsed and embraced by the principal funder of a committee supporting his campaign for re-election.” The group gave $1.2 million to independent campaign committees supporting Newby’s election.

The Insider continues: “The lawyers representing the groups challenging the maps argue that a U.S. Supreme Court decision, case law in North Carolina and the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct demand that Newby step aside.

“The U.S. Supreme Court case cited involved a West Virginia Supreme Court justice who was set to hear an appeal involving a mining company after the head of that company had put $3 million toward supporting his candidacy. The court brief points out that two former chief justices of the North Carolina Supreme Court, James Exum and I. Beverly Lake Jr., filed friend of the court briefs in that case supporting recusal.

The state Supreme Court denied an initial request last year to have Newby step. The new court brief argues that Newby’s removal is more urgent now that the court is preparing to hear the appeal of whether the maps are constitutional.

Hunter says she’s sorry

Rielle Hunter is truly sorry. She says so Tuesday in a Huffington Post blog.

Hunter says she behaved badly when she fell in love with John Edwards when he was running for president. She says she was selfish.

And she says instead of apologizing she wrote a book which hurt more people.

She takes full responsibility – though she notes that she “was so viciously attacked by the media and the world” that she felt like a victim.

She takes full responsibility – but points out that her parents cheated on each other and that “damaged” her.

She says she believes history repeats itself if you don’t take responsibility, so she has updated her book to annotate her mistakes and regrets. “In Hindsight, What Really Happened: The Revised Edition: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me” is now on sale.

Staff writers Mary Cornatzer and Rob Christensen

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