The ramifications of last week’s federal appeals court ruling that North Carolina’s racist 2013 “voter ID” law is, in fact, racist, are coming into closer focus. Today, Attorney General Roy Cooper—who’s also running for governor—announced that his office would not participate in defending the law on appeal to a higher court. Here’s Cooper’s brief statement on the matter:
“The 4th Circuit has unanimously said that the governor and the legislature have engaged in intentional discrimination to make it harder to register and vote, and two other Circuits have struck down similar laws. The governor is wasting taxpayer money in trying to defend the indefensible.”
Cooper’s office only issued this release after his opponent, Governor Pat McCrory, called a press conference to complain that Cooper isn’t doing his job as AG.
“It’s amazing that the attorney general will not fulfill the responsibility of his oath of office to defend our laws of North Carolina, and we’re very disappointed to hear his office is not doing his job,” McCrory says in the video below (courtesy of Mark Binker of WRAL). “In fact, I question whether he should even accept a paycheck from the state of North Carolina anymore because he continues to not do his job as his oath of office requires him.”
Prior to McCrory’s press conference, Cooper told reporters he believed an appeal, whether to the full federal appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court, was unlikely to change last Friday’s ruling. From the N&O:
“I think this is what we’re going to have,” Cooper said following a meeting of the Council of State. “The Board of Elections needs to work on expanding the early voting hours, making sure that same-day registration is re-instituted, and obviously the voter ID portion would not be allowed any more.”
“The bottom line is people will have more opportunities to register and vote, which was the origin of the laws that were passed in the first place — the ones that, it looks like now, were illegally overturned by the governor and the General Assembly.”
Cooper has also declined to defend HB 2, another discriminatory law rushed through the legislature by Republicans and signed by McCrory.