North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s response to the override of his veto of Senate Bill 68 (Bipartisan Election Reform) was to head to court.
The main thrust of the bill is to create a bipartisan elections and ethics enforcement board.
Cooper filed for a temporary restraining order, which a three-judge panel granted. Their ruling came at 5 pm, giving the legislature no time to respond.
This is the same three-judge panel that earlier allowed the Governor to proceed in making appointments.
Senate Pro-Tem Phil Berger issued a statement on Cooper’s attempt to block the law.
“Even though the legislature disagreed with the three-judge panel’s ruling, we respected the court and fully complied with their order by ensuring the governor will make all appointments to the bipartisan ethics and elections board. It is outrageous for Gov. Cooper to now ask the very same judges to block the modified board that met their requirements to the letter, simply because he wants total control of ethics and elections oversight. It would be a disgrace if these judges allowed themselves to become the governor’s political pawns and failed to respect the legislature’s constitutional authority to make laws.”
The legislature has filed motions with the three-panel judge and the NC Court of Appeals to dismiss Cooper’s restraining order and affirm the law.
Cooper appointed 60 year-old John S. Arrowood to the vacancy created by the early retirement announcement by Judge Douglas McCullough, who will hit the mandatory retirement age this year.
McCullough is 71 year-old Republican who served on the Court of Appeals from 2000 to 2008. He returned to the bench again in 2010.
Arrowood was appointed to the NC Court of Appeals by Former Governor Mike Easley in in 2007. He lost his bid for re-election in 2008 to Judge Robert Hunter and lost again in 2014 bid.
Arrowood turned to practicing law in Charlotte with the powerhouse firm James, McElroy & Diehl. He has resigned from the firm in order to be sworn in.
Arrowood was the first openly gay Court of Appeals judge in North Carolina.
Bipartisan Election Reform Turns Partisan
Governor Cooper’s main talking point for rejecting the Bipartisan Election Reform bill was that it would create more ‘partisanship’.
In his veto message, Cooper wrote that, “North Carolina wants its judges to be fair and impartial, and partisan politics has no place on the judges’ bench. We need less politics, not more.”
— (((Pete Kaliner))) (@PeteKaliner) April 24, 2017
Kaliner’s sarcastic tweet hits the mark. Cooper’s appointment pick has a voting record shows he has been a long-time Democrat with a voting record spanning back to 1989.
Voter registration record show Arrowood to be a devoted Democrat. Records show him voting since 2002 exclusively for the Democrat party.
Kaliner’s first hour of his radio show was dedicated to this turn of events. Kaliner takes Judge McCullough to task for aiding Cooper in his end-run around the legislature and notes how Cooper helped pack the NC Court of Appeals when he served in the legislature.
It’s worth carving out time to listen to him lay out the Governor’s cognitive dissonance, the media bias surrounding the story, Arrowood’s history and the history of the firm he worked for.
A.P. Dillon contributed to this article.