Lt. Gov. Dan Forest lost his bid to get a temporary restraining order blocking some of the COVID-19 related executive orders by Gov. Roy Cooper.
Forest filed a lawsuit against Cooper claiming that Cooper didn’t have the authority without the consensus of the 10 member Council of State to issue some of the more sweeping executive orders.
The bar for getting a temporary restraining order invoked is pretty high and North Carolina Superior Court Judge James Gale ruled against the temporary restraining order in a 31-page decision.
Many reports have stated that Forest lost the lawsuit, which isn’t exactly true. It is true that Forest lost the first round, and since everyone hopes that the executive orders will have been withdrawn by the time the case gets to court, it may never be heard, so this might have been their only day in court.
Forrest made the argument that according to the Emergency Management Act Cooper had to get the “consensus” of the Council of State to take some of the actions he did. Cooper asked for the consensus of the Council of State to close restaurants to in-person dining and close bars altogether. Two concurred and five didn’t concur. When Cooper didn’t get a consensus, he took the action anyway and at one point claimed he had the power under a state quarantine statute. Later Cooper said that was a mistake and he had the power under another provision of the Emergency Management Act.
Judge Gales agreed that another section of the Emergency Management Act gave Cooper the power to close bars, restaurants to in person dining, order people to stay home, nonessential businesses to close and all of the other statewide executive orders that have been issued.
After Gale’s decision was announced, Forest, who is the Republican gubernatorial candidate running against Cooper, issued this statement: “Today, the court ruled that Governor Cooper has 100% of the power during a declared emergency and can act unilaterally to deny freedoms to every North Carolinian.
“If Governor Cooper has 100% of the power, then he has 100% of the responsibility.
“100% of the responsibility for the disaster handling COVID-19 in nursing homes.
“100% of the responsibility for every business that has had to permanently close because of his shutdown orders.
“100% of the responsibility for every child that doesn’t get a great education this year.
“And 100% of the responsibility for the long lines of unemployed workers still waiting to receive funds.
“Ultimately, the people of North Carolina will make the final decision in November.”