North Carolina’s attorney general won’t represent the state in appealing last week’s court ruling that overturned a voter ID mandate and other voting restrictions.
Attorney General Roy Cooper said Tuesday the state had tried its best to defend against the lawsuit but lost. Outside counsel for the governor and legislative leaders who are already involved in the case can handle any appeals, Cooper said, although he pointed out that would cost additional money and confuse voters.
Gov. Pat McCrory quickly called a news conference to denounce Cooper, the Democrat who is challenging him in the November election, for refusing to defend the state against this and other politically charged lawsuits. Both candidates went on the attack as their campaigns picked up steam approaching the final three months before Election Day.
“We’re very disappointed to hear that again his office is not willing to do his job,” McCrory said. “In fact, I question whether he should even accept a paycheck from the state of North Carolina any more because he continues to not do his job, as his oath of office requires him to do.”
Gov. Pat McCrory's administration went to extraordinary lengths Tuesday night to question the sworn deposition of Ken Rudo, a state toxicologist who said administration officials misled homeowners about the safety of well water near unlined coal ash pits owned by Duke Energy.
Not only did the state Department of Health and Human Services, the agency for which Rudo works, put out a news release refuting his sworn statements, but McCrory Chief of Staff Thomas Stith issued a news release and then held a hastily arranged late-night news conference saying that Rudo was lying about a meeting in which the scientist says McCrory participated by phone.
"We don't know why Ken Rudo lied under oath, but the governor absolutely did not take part in or request this call or meeting, as he suggests," Stith said just after 9:15 p.m., speaking to television reporters in the rotunda of the historic State Capitol. Reporters for newspapers and wire services said over social media they were not notified of the news conference.
The release last month of the “Running Man Challenge” video produced by the Bull City’s police officers and sheriff’s deputies, was delayed following the fatal shootings of their colleagues in Dallas and Baton Rouge.4. Legislators invited to submit “illustrative maps” for Wake redistricting.
Undeterred, the two law enforcement agencies released the video Tuesday as part of the National Night Out celebrations across the United States.
Tamara Gibbs, a Durham sheriff’s spokeswoman, said the law enforcement agencies made the video with the goal of engaging the community and building relationships with citizens the officers are sworn to serve and protect.
“We want to build bridges, friendships and partnerships with the community they serve,” Gibbs said Tuesday afternoon.
Gibbs added that creating the video also served as a “morale booster for law enforcement officers.
“The receive a lot of scrutiny,” she said. “They deserve encouragement as well.”
A federal judge on Tuesday invited attorneys representing the leaders of the state Senate and House of Representatives to submit “illustrative maps” to guide how the Wake County school board and county commissioner districts could be redrawn.Can’t wait to see what Phil Berger’s dream map looks like.
Senate President Phil Berger, a Republican from Rockingham County, and House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican from Cleveland County, are not officially part of the lawsuit that overturned a district plan for the two Wake County boards drawn by the legislature in 2013 and 2015.
U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III held a hearing on Tuesday that drew a crowd of about 70 people to the courtroom gallery. The hearing closed without a decision on whether Wake voters would go to the polls this year to elect county commissioners or school board members.
A three-judge panel of the Fourth U.S. District Court of Appeals found the legislative maps that were drawn for the school board in 2013 and for the county commissioners in 2015 an unconstitutional violation of the “one-person, one-vote” principle.
Since then, Wake voters have been left wondering what will happen with school board and county commissioner elections, scheduled for this November.
The challengers who overturned the maps objected to the judge’s decision to allow Berger and Moore to submit “illustrative maps” on Wednesday morning, saying the legislative leaders did not represent the full General Assembly. The legislature left the capital this summer without drawing new maps for the districts.