What in the heck is Roy Cooper thinking?

Roy Cooper 3North Carolina Attorney General is generally a good guy who has done many good things during his long stint heading the North Carolina Department of Justice, so he is probably entitled to a boneheaded error or two.

If that’s so, however, Cooper more than used up his quota with the ridiculous and wasteful appeal he filed today in the “Choose Life” license plate case.

What in the world is going on?!

That he ever sought to defend this blatantly unconstitutional law giving favored government treatment to the views of anti-abortion advocates in the first place was an extremely questionable decision.

Hello?! Anyone at home over there in the DOJ? Earth to Roy: You are an independently-elected constitutional officer with some discretion in these matters. What if the reactionaries down the street at the General Assembly had passed a law outlawing abortion entirely? Would you have defended that too? What about a law that only permitted Christians to serve in the General Assembly? A law that sought to reinstitute Jim Crow? 

Okay, I get it that you’re the state’s lawyer, but in some cases, it ‘s the lawyer’s job to tell his client that they’re crazy. And, in this case, we’re not even talking about just going through the motions and giving it the old college try at the trial level–we’re talking about appealing the decision of a conservative federal judge appointed by Ronald Reagan! A decision in which the law in question was tossed out on its ear by that judge as “viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.” An appeal to a Court of Appeals that’s already made plain its disapproval of such ridiculous and unconstitutional laws. You would have been well within your rights and duties to drop the whole matter the moment Judge Fox issued his ruling.

Of course, it could be that I’m missing an ulterior motive here.

The fact is that when Cooper’s office loses this absurd appeal–as it is bound to do–the result will be that the state of North Carolina will have to fork out tens of thousands of additional dollars in attorney fees to the ACLU of North Carolina to compensate it for the time and effort it will have had to expend shooting the law down. Maybe Cooper’s working on backdoor plan to create an new ACLU endowment and nab one of the organization’s Frank Porter Graham Awards for his work.

Hmmm. Maybe. If that’s the case, however, I can think of several more effective and straightforward ways to do it.



  1. Marilyn

    January 4, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I did see something this year saying if you ran for an office you had to be christian.. What happened to separation of church and state.

  2. Sally Buckner

    January 4, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    I’m simply astounded. I thought better of Cooper.

  3. Dallas H Woodhouse

    January 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Without commenting on the specific legislation, I was told (on another matter in the past) that the AG does not really have “some discretion in these matters.”

    He has to defend the state. In these cases, the actions of the General Assembly. If his staff does not do it, his office would simply have to pay for someone else to do it?

    Am I wrong on the law?

  4. richard manyes

    January 5, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Roy Cooper is simply a dem-hack. I am not commenting on whether he should or should not take up this appeal (although I would not assume that he hasn’t checked the poll numbers on abortion in NC before agreeing). I am simply pointing out that he has taken up a number of purely political causes for his own (as yet unsuuccessful) efforts to become governor. His management of the SBI is a travesty – and one that libs would rather not chat about.

    As an exammple, he filed suit against TVA in a me-too effort to gain exposure. His legal theory was a joke – only managing to convince old-time AG crony Lacy Thornburg as sitting district court judge – but having his hind quarters handed to him by the far more qualified 4th circuit court of Appeals. Ultimately – TVA “settled” saying they would do what they had planned to do before Cooper took up his “suit.” Cooper yelps victory after squandering more than $5 million on an outside dem-friendly DC law firm with questionable billing practices.

  5. Alex

    January 5, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Roy Cooper is a lot like Mike Easley…. a slow bumbling politician without much substance !

  6. Dallas H Woodhouse

    January 5, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    In fact, when the General Assembly sues the executive branch, which can happen, the AG would have pay to represent both sides.

  7. Wagthe Dog

    January 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Maybe that’s the reason Cooper filed the appeal. this allows fellow lawyers thousands of dollars of fees into their pockets for virtually no effort. Why work hard on a case when you are doomed to lose from the start. Somebody makes money from this….. just saying

  8. Rob Schofield

    January 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    The Attorney General has a great deal of discretion in carrying out his duties and exercises it all the time. Unfortunately, this time, Cooper (who is actually a good guy with a great deal of skill and substance) has simply made a remarkably poor decision.

  9. Nonanon

    January 6, 2013 at 7:31 am


    Of course it’s a ridiculous appeal. If only the AG had so zealously defended the rights of the citizens of the state against mortgage fraud.

    The failure of the state to stand up to banking fraud will prove to be their undoing, in time.

  10. PAW

    January 7, 2013 at 8:04 am

    I am very disappointed that our AG decided to appeal this decision. The first piece of legislation debated by the right-wing extremists who took over House in 2011 was to “direct” the AG to join the lawsuit claiming Obamacare was unconstitutional. I believe that Mr. Cooper told this ideological bunch, NO. The arguments then were just as Rob said, he’s a duly elected, constitutional officer with discretion. It would be a waste of time and resources.

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