North Carolina Republicans aren’t excited about their incoming Democratic governor, which is understandable. But instead of swallowing their rage and increasing their night-drinking like the rest of us are doing to cope with impending political change, they just passed a blizzard of bills to limit his power. Unamused, Governor-Elect Roy Cooper is threatening to sue them before he takes office.
Cooper defeated incumbent Pat McCrory in a bitter, tight race which he at first refused to concede, then ultimately lost by just 10,000 votes. In a surprise special session on Wednesday, the North Carolina GOP introduced a series of measures designed to weaken the Governor’s power: One would require the state Senate to approve his cabinet picks, one would make him unable to appoint trustees to the University of North Carolina’s board, and one would reduce the number of state employees he has hiring and firing power over from 1,500 to 300. McCrory would be the one to sign those measures, in other words making sure the guy who kicked him out of a job didn’t have too much power.
Cooper, who’s currently the state attorney general, is calling the bills fucked up and bullshit and lawsuit-worthy: “If I believe these measures are unconstitutional, they will see me in court and they don’t have a good track record there.” He added, “Most people might think this is a partisan power grab, but it’s really more ominous.”
Cooper has also been openly critical of HB 2, North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” which eliminated LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws in the state and required people to use the bathroom on their birth certificates. (The bill has cost North Carolina a lot of money and public standing, but McCrory remains very proud of it and tried to use it in his reelection campaign.) Cooper has called the bill “a national embarrassment,” but only the legislature can vote to repeal it.
Correction: An earlier version of this post used a photo of Pat McCrory but mistakenly captioned it as a photo of Roy Cooper. I regret the error. But in my defense, these two white men look extremely similar.