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Breaking Point: NC at Odds with Feds Over HB 2

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing North Carolina over HB 2, and Gov. Pat McCrory and his administration have opted to counter-sue. (HalGoodtree/Flickr)
The U.S. Department of Justice is suing North Carolina over HB 2, and Gov. Pat McCrory and his administration have opted to counter-sue. (HalGoodtree/Flickr)
May 10, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. - North Carolina is going toe-to-toe with the federal government over HB 2, the controversial law passed in March.

On Monday, the federal government filed a lawsuit against the state, saying it's violating the Civil Rights Act, Title Nine, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

HB 2 mandates that individuals use public restrooms and changing rooms for the gender they were born, and prohibits cities or counties from making their own laws.

In response, the state is counter-suing the U.S. Justice Department and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Durham attorney T. Greg Doucett represents several clients he says are being affected by the new law.

"It's been a disaster for the state, and from every standpoint," says Doucett. "Whether it's my business clients losing money from folks not coming to the state, or our constitutional clients who end up getting arrested because they want to go protest - it's just been a disaster, from start to finish."

Gov. Pat McCrory has appeared on political talk shows in recent days, touting HB 2 as a "commonsense, bodily-privacy law."

But Doucett predicts North Carolina taxpayers will be on the hook for thousands or even millions of dollars as the state defends the law.

While HB 2 was put forward by a Republican administration, Doucette - also a registered Republican - says he's having trouble finding his party's platform in the new law.

"It doesn't really flow with how I've always envisioned Republican politics working," he says. "We favor things like local control and following law and order. And what we have is a legislature that passed a new law for a problem that didn't exis,t to override a decision by a city - that in the process, they're violating federal law."

The governor was notified late last week that his administration had until Monday to confirm the state would not implement HB 2.

McCrory asked for more time to consider the request. Opponents of HB 2 point out that lawmakers passed the legislation in a day, and are questioning the state's inability to meet the federal deadline.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC