RALEIGH – When Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest filed a lawsuit against Governor Roy Cooper, it was to challenge the notion that the governor had absolute power and 100 percent authority in unilaterally issuing executive edicts that deny the rights of North Carolinians. Indeed, Cooper issued his first decree above the objection of a majority of the Council of State, and then neglected to ask for concurrence at all in issuing half a dozen restrictive executive orders thereafter.
Tuesday the judge in that case refused Forest’s request for a temporary injunction to prevent Cooper from issuing any more orders unilaterally. Wake County Superior Court Judge Jim Gale said that Forest’s legal team’s argument was ‘not likely to succeed on the merits.’
In so doing, Judge Gale clears the way for Cooper to keep playing the role of King for as long as the State of Emergency remains. Oh, and Cooper decided how long the State of Emergency lasts (unless the General Assembly steps up). The judge’s decision also suggests that Roy Cooper has 100 percent authority during an emergency.
In reaction, Lieutenant Governor Forest proclaimed that, if Cooper has 100 percent authority, he also has 100 percent of the responsibility for wrecking the economy, destroying livelihoods, and stifling children’s education.
“Today, the the court ruled that Governor Cooper has 100% of the power during a declared emergency and can act unilaterally to deny freedoms to every North Carolinian.
“If Governor Cooper has 100% of the power, then he has 100% of the responsibility.
“100% of the responsibility for the disaster handling COVID-19 in nursing homes.
“100% of the responsibility for every business that has had to permanently close because of his shutdown orders.
“100% of the responsibility for every child that doesn’t get a great education this year.
“And 100% of the responsibility for the long lines of unemployed workers still waiting to receive funds.
“Ultimately, the people of North Carolina will make the final decision in November.”
Ultimately, the court case continues, as this was just a ruling on the requested injunction. Judge Gale did take care to point out that his order shouldn’t be viewed as a ruling on the merits or necessity Cooper’s orders, but that the governor appeared to be acting consistently and within the bounds of the law.
Except, he then proceed to weigh in with his opinion of the merits and necessity of those orders, saying he thought the executive orders from Cooper have been “consistent with imposing a necessary ‘floor’ to be applied state-wide, while leaving more restrictive requirements to those areas where the pandemic’s affect and risk of spread is more severe.”
Basically, he kissed Cooper’s ring, and promised the court won’t stop him from unilaterally kicking North Carolinian’s rights to the curb whenever the whim occurs. And it’s all whims now; the reliance on ‘science and data’ was clearly abandoned a long time ago.
Yet, while Cooper is smugly enjoying the assist from Judge Gale, just take stroll; a drive around town; a trip to the beach; a trip to a local eatery; or, even to the new speakeasy, and notice that Governor Cooper and his mandates CLEARLY do not have ultimate authority over a great many of the free men and women of North Carolina.
We should all remind him of that in November.
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