GOP leaders called the act a “politically motivated stunt.”
Cooper’s office sent a letter discharging outside counsel hired to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Legislative leaders were quick to respond.
“This is a publicity ploy,” said Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett. Lewis is the current chairman of the House Rules Committee and chaired the House Elections Committee in 2013 when the law was passed.
Lewis said other lawyers representing the General Assembly will continue the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The governor had no authority to dismiss lawyers that were representing the General Assembly,” Lewis said. “The governor knew that.”
“Roy Cooper’s and Josh Stein’s desperate and politically motivated stunt to derail North Carolina’s voter ID law is not only illegal, it also raises serious questions about whether they’ve allowed their own personal and political prejudices and conflicts of interest to cloud their professional judgment,” House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said in a joint statement.
In a statement, Cooper said, “We need to make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote, not harder, and I will not continue to waste time and money appealing this unconstitutional law.”
A Republican-controlled General Assembly passed the law in 2013.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 29, 2016, struck down four other provisions of the 2013 election law: shortening the duration of the early voting period; eliminating same-day registration during early voting; eliminating voting by residents who aren’t in their home precincts; and eliminating an early registration program for teenagers not yet old enough to vote.
The ruling overturned an opinion by U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, who had upheld the election law provisions. The three-judge appeals panel said the federal district court “missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees.” It viewed the five provisions of the 2013 law in light of the state’s previous history of voter discrimination.