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Fairness of Future Elections at Issue at NC Supreme Court Today

The State Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Cooper vs. Berger and Moore today. (Brian Turner/flickr)
The State Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Cooper vs. Berger and Moore today. (Brian Turner/flickr)
August 28, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Today, the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear a case that could determine the future of the state's election commission, along with other policies.

Cooper versus Berger and Moore is one of several challenges filed by Gov. Roy Cooper and others against conservative legislative leaders as a result of their repeated efforts to limit his powers after his election victory last November. Bob Hall with Democracy North Carolina said changing the structure of the State Board of Elections could have a long-term impact on the state.

"If you make those seats very partisan, you're going to develop gridlock I'm afraid, and a lot of things will just come to a halt,” Hall said. "It's important to at least have a framework where decisions get made."

After Cooper's election in November 2016, state lawmakers convened a special session just before the end of the year with the objective of passing bills to remove powers from the governor’s office and, in most instances, transferring them to the General Assembly.

Hall said the outcome of today's case will serve as a response to partisan efforts by state lawmakers.

"There's a pattern, unfortunately, of the Legislature going after the governor,” he said. "As soon as a Democrat was elected as governor, they tried to take away appointment powers and control his staff and do a number of things. They've gone after the judicial branch. "

A separate lawsuit filed by Cooper challenges efforts to reduce the size of the state Court of Appeals and remove his power to control the Industrial Commission and influence what the governor includes in his annual budget.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC