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The Latest: Judges referee building NC constitutional tangle

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Latest on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s lawsuit challenging a law cutting his election oversight role passed by the Republican-led legislature (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

The political power struggle that started before North Carolina swore in a new governor is getting a hard look by a trio of state judges.

A three-judge panel on Thursday heard from lawyers for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who sued claiming a new law diminishing his election oversight is unconstitutional. The Republican-dominated General Assembly acted two weeks before Cooper took office in January. That law was blocked and legislators passed the replacement being challenged again.

Attorneys for state legislative leaders say Cooper may not like having his powers reduced, but earlier Republican governors also saw their election oversight diminished and ballots were cast for years without disruption.

Cooper’s lawyer says the legislature is both writing the laws and picking the people to enforce them, violating the constitutional separation of powers.

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4:10 a.m.

A North Carolina judicial panel is taking on the question of whether it’s constitutional for GOP legislators to end the century-old practice of governors overseeing efficient elections now that a political rival is in office.

A hearing starts Thursday to decide Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s lawsuit seeking to have the new law declared unconstitutional.

Three state trial judges are looking at a law taking away his authority to pick the majority of the five-member statewide elections board. The current Republican day-to-day executive could stay indefinitely if the board devolves into partisan deadlocks.

Cooper’s lawyers argue the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with the governor’s duty to ensure election laws are faithfully carried out.

Lawyers for Republican legislators say Cooper’s argument is a smoke screen for a partisan turf war.


Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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