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Superior Court panel’s response to Supreme Court in elections, ethics merge due soon

The deadline is fast approaching for a three-judge Superior Court panel to respond a request made by the state Supreme Court to provide further details in a battle between the Governor and the legislature over the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

The Supreme Court ordered Sept. 1 that the Superior Court panel explain the basis for its earlier determination that it lacked jurisdiction to reach the merits of the claims advanced by Gov. Roy Cooper and address the issues that he raised on the merits. The deadline for that response is Tuesday.

Cooper is suing lawmakers for the second time over legislation that merges the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission into one entity.

In the first lawsuit over Senate Bill 4, the three-judge Superior Court panel ruled mostly in favor of Cooper. Instead of appealing that ruling, lawmakers recrafted legislation to still merge the boards, but in a way that addressed some of the courts’ points.

The second lawsuit Cooper filed over Senate Bill 68 was dismissed by the panel for lack of jurisdiction. Cooper appealed to the state’s highest court.

Once the Superior Court files the order about its recent decision, the case will immediately be certified back to the Supreme Court for a final decision.

In it’s order, the Supreme Court also wrote that any county board of elections with a vacancy while litigation is ongoing may continue to meet and conduct business with a quorum and unanimous assent of two members.

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