RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina lawmakers have the power to give themselves the last word on confirming Gov. Roy Cooper’s Cabinet secretaries, a state appeals court agreed Tuesday.
The state Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court properly rejected Cooper’s challenge to a new law passed weeks after his election last year. The new Democratic governor had argued that the Republican-dominated General Assembly was violating the state Constitution’s separation of powers between the two government institutions.
The appeals court agreed that legislators have the power of “advice and consent” over the governor’s picks to head state agencies under his control, which is similar to Congress’s role in reviewing the president’s picks for top posts. The state Senate unanimously confirmed all eight of Cooper’s cabinet secretaries this year.
“Separation of powers does not otherwise prohibit “advice and consent” being applied to gubernatorial appointees over agencies the General Assembly created, and which agencies can be amended or repealed by statute,” the three-judge appeals panel wrote in a ruling they delivered as a group.
Most Read Nation & World Stories
- Dog that waited weeks in ruins of California wildfire is reunited with owner WATCH
- Yukon trapper shoots attacking grizzly — then finds his family already mauled to death
- Drug firm can’t keep up with demand for shingles vaccine
- A daring betrayal helped wipe out Cali cocaine cartel
- 'Make better choices': Endangered Hawaiian monk seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses and scientists want them to stop
“They essentially kicked it upstairs to the Supreme Court,” Cooper said, indicating he would appeal again and adding “we believe that these arguments are sound and that these laws will end up being declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.”
Top legislative Republicans called on Cooper to accept Tuesday’s ruling and end his lawsuit.
“It is in the people’s interest for their elected representatives to conduct a fair, constitutional and transparent review of the governor’s cabinet secretaries,” House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger, who defended the law in court, said in a statement.
Cooper also has sued to block several laws the Republican-controlled legislature approved last December that reduce or check his powers, and which Cooper contends erode his ability to perform his constitutional duties:
— limiting Cooper’s authority in carrying out elections while increasing GOP oversight,
— giving civil service job protections to hundreds of former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s political appointees.
— cutting the governor’s powers to appoint Court of Appeals judges and members of board and commissions.
— requiring Cooper to include money in his future budget proposals for taxpayer-funded scholarships for private school tuition, which the governor opposes.
Follow Emery P. Dalesio on Twitter at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio. His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/emery%20dalesio
Associated Press writer Gary Robertson contributed to this report.