Commentary

Editorial: Lawmakers’ latest power grab is “infantile,” “abuse of power,” “insult to the people they represent”

This morning’s lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer is a blistering takedown of the General Assembly’s latest outrageous assault on the basic structures of North Carolina government  (see Melissa Boughton’s post below). This is from “GOP tries to further limit Cooper with changes in judicial appointments”:

“If they could, Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly would likely take away Gov. Roy Cooper’s authority, period. All of it. No Cabinet. No staff. No car. No mansion.

And they’d chuckle about how they paid back Cooper, a former legislator himself, for the heinous sin of — winning the governor’s office over Republican incumbent Pat McCrory, a fellow they weren’t crazy about anyway. Cooper won that office by a slim margin, but he did win with the most votes from North Carolina citizens. He was their choice, whether Republicans like it or not.

But in their latest infantile gambit, Republicans seek to take away from Cooper his right to appoint judges. One will would reduce the size of the state Court of Appeals just as three Republicans are retiring from that 15-member court. Those three would be replaced by gubernatorial appointment, which likely would mean three Democrats.”

After exposing the embarrassingly juvenile justification advanced by the bills’ sponsor, Rep. Justin Burr, and highlighting expert testimony of a former appellate judge who debunked the proposals, the editorial closes with this damning assessment:

“The Republicans are making Cooper’s Cabinet appointees go through a confirmation process just to annoy Democrats, and they’ve already reduced Cooper’s available patronage appointments and made it clear they intend to ignore his budget and formulate one of their own more to the liking of the wealthy and big business.

So to say they’ve gone too far in reaching into the selection of judges would be stating the obvious. Their behavior is an insult to Cooper, to the people, to the state constitution. It reflects a certain brand of immaturity.

But this isn’t kickball on the playground, and Republicans don’t get to take their state and go home just because their candidate lost the election.

They are, in their own amateurish, immature way, rewriting the separation of powers to create an imbalance in favor of the General Assembly. It is an abuse of power and an insult to the people they represent.”

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