by Sam Hieb
Whoever said that news moves at the speed of light in the Trump era sure nailed. This morning everyone’s trying to process the president rescinding rules protecting transgender students and how it could radically effect the ongoing HB2 battle.
In turn that left us barely any time to process the confusion over the North Carolina’s other ongoing legal battle— the voter ID law. News broke on Tuesday that Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein had sent a letter dismissing private attorneys who were representing the state in the appeal of a ruling last year by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found provisions of the voter ID law unconstitutional. The 4th Circuit Court’s ruling set the stage for the request of a review by the Supreme Court filed by the McCrory administration.
But the dismissed attorneys fired back, claiming “neither the governor nor the attorney general has the authority to move to dismiss the (Supreme Court appeal) without the consent of the General Assembly or its counsel.”
Read the full letter here. It’s a lot to take in, but here’s what jumped out at me–the claim that Cooper and Stein have serious conflicts of interest in this case:
As a candidate, Governor Cooper, despite his position as Attorney General in this litigation, made many public statements indicating that the election reform law at issue was unconstitutional. During the trial, Attorney General Stein, then a member of the State Senate, testified on behalf of the plaintiffs and, as a member of the State Senate, voted against the challenged statute and publicly spoke out against it.
So where have we heard this legal argument before? You guessed it—Trump’s statements about a “Muslim ban” on the campaign trial were alluded to during the legal fight over the president’s travel ban, which specifically does not bar Muslims.