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McCrory says he will sign bill he believes is unconstitutional; seems to contradict previous approval of anti-choice legislation

McCrory budgetIn case you missed it over the weekend, Gov. Pat McCrory told an interviewer that he plans to sign the coal ash clean-up bill even though he believes that part of it is unconstitutional. This is from a story on WRAL.com:

McCrory said the bill’s creation of an independent coal ash oversight commission, appointed by House and Senate leaders and the governor, blurs the separation of powers of different branches of the government – just one example, he added, among several such proposals lawmakers advanced this year.

“I’m going to have to fight them from a constitutional standpoint, including even the coal ash commission,” he told Campbell. “I think this concept of creating commissions that are appointed by the legislature – or a majority by the legislature – is unconstitutional, regardless of the subject. Because that means the legislature is doing the operations of state government, which is not their responsibility. I think there’s a constitutional issue there.

How such a position squares with the Governor’s sworn duty to support the Constitution is hard to figure. Of course, when you’re listening to the rather unique policy observations of North Carolina’s current chief executive, you always have to take things with a grain of salt. In the same interview, the Guv expressed his approval for the General Assembly’s rejection of another bill during the waning hours of session last week because it contained multiple, unrelated topics. Again, this is from the WRAL story:

“There were parts of the bill that had no relevance to the other part of the bill, and that’s not the way you should do legislation,” he said.

Uh, Governor, we hate to tell you this, but you’ve already signed dozens of bill that do exactly the same thing — most notably, the infamous SB 353 from just last year. You remember that one. It dealt with those two closely-related topics: abortion clinic regulations and motorcycle safety.

3 Comments


  1. Gerry Cohen

    August 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Actually though the legislation is NOT unconstitutional. Though traditional “separation of powers” analysis would tell you that the NCGA should not be making appointments to executive office, in fact our constitutional history says it can. The 1868 Constitution specifically forbad the NCGA from making appointments to executive office, but the 1875 constitutional convention (with voter approval) deleted that sentence. When the 1893 General Assembly set up a board to run the State Prison with 12 legislative appointments and 5 from the Governor, our Supreme Court upheld the law saying that the obvious purpose of the 1875 amendment was to allow this. Then, in the 1995 session, a constitutional amendment to allow gubernatorial veto passed (approved by the voters in 1996) included language that SPECIFICALLY recognizes legislative appointment to public office.

  2. Rob Schofield

    August 25, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks Gerry. Hope you can comment here on a regular basis!

  3. Brother Doc

    August 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Guess the guv has his stupid hat on…again.

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