Plans afoot to impeach Attorney General Roy Cooper?

Sanderson-CooperState Sen. Norm Sanderson (R-Pamlico) told those attending the inaugural meeting of the Morehead-Beaufort Tea Party yesterday that the top leadership in both GOP-controlled branches of the legislature are working to remove Attorney General Roy Cooper from office, according to this report in The Carteret County News-Times.

Citing Cooper’s announcement in late July that his office would no longer defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban after the Fourth Circuit found Virginia’s similar law unconstitutional, Sanderson said:

“If he’s not going to defend what we, the citizens of North Carolina, want him to defend, we need to probably impeach him because he’s been a vocal opponent of the marriage amendment ever since it was passed.”

He added that steps are in place once Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis give the green light.

“Our leadership hasn’t made the final decision but everything is on ready, set, go if that’s what we want to do.”

Of course, doing what some lawmakers and citizens of the state want him to do is not the job of the Attorney General.

Here’s Jim Tierney, former Maine Attorney General and now director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School:

The simple truth is that attorney general refusal to defend happens all the time.

Legislatures are comprised in most states by non-lawyers trying to do the right thing, but they do not understand the complexity of constitutional limits. They are advised, but often plunge ahead — both liberals and conservatives — and make constitutional mistakes. It then falls to the attorney general to clean this mess up.

The attorney general is supposed to uphold the constitution – that’s his job.

And you want your attorney general telling the truth. If the attorney general in his view says ‘you’ve got some real constitutional issues here,’ I would think any governor would want to know that before he signs a bill.




  1. Dave Connelly

    August 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Sen. Sanderson would speak for the citizens of NC? In 2008, 61% of the citizens voted for Mr. Cooper, and in 2012, 100%. It would appear that the citizens continue to speak highly of the A.G. http://ballotpedia.org/Roy_Cooper

  2. John

    August 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    The citizens of North Carolina don’t have to impeach the AG to fight for Amendment One. Phil Berger and Thom Tillis gave themselves standing to fight for laws that the AG deems to be unconstitutional. Norm Sanderson is playing politics, not fighting to preserve the amendment.

  3. Concerned NC Citizen

    August 8, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    I think the citizens of NC know who we need to send back to their hometown to stay AND it ain’t Roy.

  4. Kitty

    August 8, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    How about impeach Tillis, Berger and Sanderson. Sanderson has no right to speak for NC citizens who voted for Cooper. We want to keep Cooper and get rid of the Tea Party that is ruining our state. November is coming up soon vote Democrat and let’s start taking our state back and keep voting Democrat until we get rid of the Tea Party altogether.

  5. Gary

    August 8, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Threatening to Impeach the People’s choice might have future dire consequences for his bully-boy opponents after his supporters elect A.G. Roy Cooper the next Governor of NC by the same vast margin or more.

  6. Pertains!

    August 9, 2014 at 6:45 am

    He is a democrat and that is enough for all the mean spirited politicians like Berger and Tillis.
    They are all running scared because so many people have stood up and let them know what a piece meal job of a budget they have cobbled together.
    If we do not vote them out NC will in shambles.

  7. Judy Coggins

    August 9, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Thank goodness there are people in Raleigh who will take a stand against the nutcases in the Legislature! I am truly grateful to AG Cooper for standing up to bullies. In a few years, this civil rights issue will be a non-issue because somehow we will all realize that what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom is NOT OUR POLITICAL BUSINESS!

  8. John P. McAfee

    August 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Senator Norm: The 4th Circuit Court has spoken. Amendment One passed with 30% of our citizens voting and 60% of those voted in favor of Amendment One… that would be around 18% of registered voters or the Baptist population in NC. You are on the wrong side of history and pandering for votes on the back of minorities is what your ilk has been doing since the ’60s! Why waste my money in pursuing this obvious bias? Might want to reconsider denial of Medicaid extension while you are at it. People are dying because of your stupidity.

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