Courts & the Law, News

Legislators to three-judge panel: General Assembly leadership, not Attorney General, speaks for NC

Legislative defendants in a recent racial gerrymandering case filed a court document today that argues the General Assembly speaks for the state of North Carolina, not the Attorney General.

The North Carolina v. Covington document was filed in response to the Attorney General’s position statement that his office represents the state and the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

“The Attorney General’s statement asserts, without supporting citation, that his ‘authority to represent the State has overlapping roots in the North Carolina Constitution, common law, and statutes.’ … A cursory review of North Carolina law demonstrates this statement is incorrect.”

Legislators contend in the document that the Constitution “confers no authority on the Attorney General at all.” They say that the General Assembly created the Department of Justice and designated the Attorney General as the head of that agency.

“North Carolina law also expressly recognizes that, in cases challenging the constitutionality of an act of the General Assembly, the ‘State’ includes both the executive branch of state government and the legislative branch. … The Attorney General’s duty under these laws is to ensure that the legislature’s proper role as part of the State of North Carolina in such cases is recognized and respected.”

When it comes to remedial action to right the constitutional wrongs in Covington, the legislators ask the three-judge panel to defer to the General Assembly’s leadership to speak on behalf of North Carolina.

Reminder: This is the same General Assembly leadership that created the unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered maps in question.

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