MORE TO THE STORY: COOPER’S AMENDMENT VETO HYPOCRISY
In our latest video, we give North Carolinians a look at what Democrat Governor Roy Cooper considers to be ‘bipartisan’ activity: A state record-breaking 25 vetoes.
Our latest video also touched on the six Constitutional Amendments that will appear on the ballot this Fall. Voters will be deciding on them, so it is important to know what they say – which is more than likely why a disinformation campaign has been started and lawsuits have been filed.
Here are the six proposed amendments:
- Senate Bill 75, Const. Amd. - Max. Income Tax Rate of 7.0%.
- Senate Bill 677, Protect Right to Hunt and Fish.
- Senate Bill 814, Judicial Vacancy Sunshine Amendment.
- House Bill 551, Strengthening Victims' Rights.
- House Bill 913, Bipartisan Ethics and Elections Enforcement.
- House Bill 1092, Const. Amendment - Require Photo ID to Vote.
Governor Cooper’s filed a lawsuit over two of them ( numbers 4 and 5), but there’s more to that story, which we will get to shortly.
First, It’s important to understand why Cooper is suing. The reason is simple, as Governor, he has zero control over Constitutional Amendments.
It’s therefore really no surprise that Governor Cooper has decided to do what he has done continually since taking office - Sue. Maybe he’s also shooting to break the record for the number of lawsuits filed by a NC Governor?
Media has been in a frenzy over this turn of events, but few outlets have included the text from the two amendments which Roy Cooper has deemed ”deceptive” and “misleading.”
Here they are:
“Separation of Powers Ballot Question”
[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST
Constitutional amendment to establish a bipartisan Board of Ethics
and Elections to administer ethics and election laws, to clarify the
appointment authority of the Legislative and the Judicial Branches,
and to prohibit legislators from serving on boards and
exercising executive or judicial authority.
“Judicial Vacancies Ballot Question”
[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST
Constitutional amendment to implement a nonpartisan merit-based
system that relies on professional qualifications instead of political
influence when nominating Justices and judges to be selected to fill
vacancies that occur between judicial elections.
The “Separation of Powers” question sets up a bipartisan ethics and elections board – something the Democrats have asked for in the past.
The “Judicial Vacancies” sets forth the condition that judicial appointees actually have the skills and qualifications needed for the job – instead of a politically charged or motivated candidate.
Do either of these amendments seem hard to read or understand? Do either seem unreasonable? The answer to both is No. So, is this just more political grandstanding or does Governor Cooper really believe that North Carolina voters are unable to read and comprehend these ballot items for themselves?
It's not only Cooper who thinks voters are apparently illiterate and not to be trusted. Earlier this week, a three-judge panel voted 2-1 to block the Amendments Cooper has sued over. The General Assembly is deciding whether or not to reconvene and re-write the Amendment language.
What’s really more interesting isn’t the amendments or even the language in any of them, but the glaring hypocrisy over ‘duly appointed powers’ on display by Roy Cooper.
When Cooper was Attorney General he defended the Democrat-controlled legislature when their own Constitutional Amendment ballot initiatives were challenged multiple times* in court.
Jump back to 2006 when a federal lawsuit was filed challenging an amendment approved in 2004 by the voters of North Carolina.
The case was Bishop, et al. v. Bartlett, et al., and then-Attorney General Roy Cooper was named in his official capacity as one of the defendants. The plaintiffs in the Bishop v. Bartlett case claimed that the ballot question written by the General Assembly was unconstitutionally “misleading.” Sound familiar?
Here’s where Cooper’s hypocrisy jumps right out: he ended up arguing that the legislature had every right to “control” the amendment process which included writing the ballot questions.
In the appeal filed at that time by Cooper in defense of the Democrat-controlled legislature before the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, he wrote:
"The North Carolina Supreme Court has made clear that all aspects of the manner in which a proposed constitutional amendment is put before the voters is within the control of the General Assembly."
In the appeal, Cooper also cited multiple other cases in defense of the then-Democrat majority General Assembly. One of those cases was that of Reade v. City Of Durham, which, in part, stated that:
"The power given to the General Assembly to submit amendments to the people is a general and unrestricted one, in the sense that they may, without any limitation, prescribe the method by which this shall be done – in other words, the procedure throughout, and from beginning to end.”
What happened to Cooper’s assertion that the General Assembly has control over “all aspects” of the amendment process, including ballot questions? Cooper’s assertion, along with any semblance of legal consistency on his part, has apparently vaporized.
More To The Story: Footnotes & Resources
* Democrat Written Ballot Questions/ Amendments Challenged
"Constitutional amendment to promote local economic and community development projects by (i) permitting the General Assembly to enact general laws giving counties, cities, and towns the power to finance public improvements associated with qualified private economic and community improvements within development districts, as long as the financing is secured by the additional tax revenues resulting from the enhanced property value within the development district and is not secured by a pledge of the local government's faith and credit or general taxing authority, which financing is not subject to a referendum; and (ii) permitting the owners of property in the development district to agree to a minimum tax value for their property, which is binding on future owners as long as the development district is in existence."
(Results: Adopted 1,504,391 For To 1,429,179 Against)
“Constitutional amendment permitting the General Assembly to enact general laws permitting issuance of bonds without a referendum to finance public projects associated with private industrial and commercial economic development projects, with the bonds to be secured in whole or in part by the additional revenues from taxes levied on the incremental value of the property in the territorial area."
(Results: Rejected 651,190 Against To 197,762 For)
“Constitutional amendment permitting the General Assembly to enact general laws permitting issuance of tax increment bonds, without voter approval."
(Results: Rejected Vote: 810,565 Against To 182,147 For)