Judge Donald Stephens has had a busy few days. After stopping the overhaul of North Carolina’s oversight structure for public education the judge also has halted, at least temporarily, another partisan move from Republican lawmakers to curb the powers of the duly-elected next governor, Roy Cooper.
In a petty move, lawmakers voted to merge the State Elections Board with the State Ethics Commission, which administers laws pertaining to lobbyists and essentially all government employees. Like the intended change in governance of education, the move would further reduce the power of Cooper.
More seriously, Cooper’s attorneys are arguing that such a change would be unconstitutional.
It’s absurd that Cooper has to fight for authority that is rightfully his under the state constitution. More than that — and here is what should anger all North Carolinians — powerful GOP legislators are acting not in the best interest of the people, but for selfish revenge. The will of the people — albeit in a close election — apparently means nothing to them. The voters of North Carolina chose Democrat Cooper over outgoing Gov. Pat McCrory, so GOP lawmakers now want to take their ball and go home. But it’s not their ball. It belongs to everyone.
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