Last December, weeks after the election, when North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory conceded that he’d been “flushed” from office, North Carolina Republicans tried to overhaul the state election boards to keep newly elected Democratic Governor Roy Cooper from taking control over them as is his right as governor.
The Republicans passed a law merging the state election board with the State Ethics Commission, creating a “New State Board” with eight members; the governor and the Legislature would each select four members, and the board would require a supermajority of six votes to take any action. And they changed the rules, allowing for a Republican to chair the board in election years, and a Democrat to chair it in off-years.
In other words, the North Carolina GOP tried to make sure that the state and county boards would be perpetually gridlocked. And, under GOP control, the election board would have slashed early voting—making it difficult for middle to lower class people to get to the polls—and lower class and purged thousands of minority voters—who mostly vote Democrat—from the rolls.
But this week a court ruled: Not today Satan.
A North Carolina state court ruled that most of the GOP-dominated Legislature’s power grab—which stripped authority from the incoming Democratic governor—violated the state constitution. Huh. The GOP violating a Constitution? Who knew?
The court also ruled that the GOP cannot force McCrory appointees into full-time, permanent positions under Governor Cooper, who would then be unable to choose his own team; in the final days of his term as governor, McCrory converted nearly 1,000 political positions into permanent ones, all hostile Republicans who would then refuse to work with a Democrat governor.
But, the court upheld a new law requiring the governor to submit his Cabinet appointments to a state Senate for a vote. Before Cooper took office, governors appointed Cabinet secretaries without legislative interference, but Republicans abolished that practice, granting themselves the opportunity to provide “advice and consent.”
Cooper’s office has suggested he will appeal the decision regarding Cabinet appointments, and, of course, the GOP will appeal the parts of the ruling it doesn’t like; but, given that the state Supreme Court leans a little more left than it does right, the GOP will be the long-shot to win.
Still, even with that one snag, this was a judicial smackdown of the North Carolina GOP which tried to turn the state into a one-party state, where the poor have no voice, and the minority has no vote, and only the opinions of rich white Republicans matter,
But, again, not today Satan.