Gov. Roy Cooper has lost two of the latest courtroom battles for power with the GOP-led legislature.
Two members of a three-judge panel agreed that lawmakers had the authority to reduce the state Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12 and to require the Governor to include private school voucher funding in his recommended budget, according to a decision released Monday. You can read more about the arguments in the case here.
The concurring judges were Jay Hockenbury, a registered Republican serving New Hanover County, and Nathaniel Poovey, a registered Republican serving Catawba County. Judge Henry Hight, a registered Democrat who serves Franklin, Granville, Vance, and Warren counties, dissented.
However, Hight later ruled against the Governor in a separate court challenge (that was part of the same lawsuit) over whether he or the legislature should control millions of dollars from federal block grants and a Volkswagen settlement. You can read more about that April 4 hearing here. His decision also was released Monday.
Cooper’s office did not immediately respond to a request about whether or not he planned to appeal the two rulings. Legislative leaders took to Twitter to pat themselves on the back and urge Cooper to “abandon these self-serving lawsuits.”
The two branches of government have been battling each other for power since former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory lost his bid for reelection to Cooper, a Democrat. Cooper sued lawmakers over several measures they passed restricting his authority once in office.
The lawsuit involving the two most recent rulings, Cooper v. Berger, is being heard and decided piecemeal. You can read the rulings below.