North 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.