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Hearing set for Governor’s renewed litigation over constitutional amendments

Gov. Roy Cooper will get his second day in court tomorrow.

Cooper won his first lawsuit over two constitutional amendments affecting the separation of powers that he alleged were misleading to voters. Lawmakers called a special session and rewrote the amendments.

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday night declined Cooper’s request to intervene over the new amendments but enjoined the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement from preparing ballots until further ordered.

Cooper filed an amended lawsuit Thursday morning in Wake County Superior Court and the same three-judge panel that ruled 2-1 in his favor before was assigned to preside over a new hearing Friday at 11 a.m. in courtroom 10C of the Wake County Courthouse.

The amendments in question are one restructuring the State Board and enshrining the body into the constitution and one transferring gubernatorial appointment authority to the General Assembly for judicial vacancies.

“These ballot questions are neither fair nor accurate,” the new lawsuit states of the rewritten amendments. “They are false. They are misleading. They are incomplete. And they are argumentative. Ultimately, these ballot questions do not fairly advise the voters of what is at stake or facilitate an intelligent, independent decision on the proposed amendments.”

You can read the full amended lawsuit here.

The judges who will preside over the new hearing are Judge Forrest Bridges, a registered Democrat serving Cleveland and Lincoln counties; Judge Thomas H. Lock, who is registered to vote as an unaffiliated and serves Harnett, Johnston and Lee counties; and Jeffery K. Carpenter, a registered Republican who serves Union County. Carpenter was the dissenting judge in the previous lawsuit.

Ballot printing and preparation is supposed to begin Saturday to meet federal requirements, but the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement is exploring all options in case delay continues.

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