Lt. Gov. Dan Forest addresses plans to sue Gov. Cooper’s administration

Forest to sue Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV/WITN) - North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Dan Forest spoke Monday morning about his plans to sue Governor Roy Cooper’s administration over the shutdown of certain parts of the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am asking the court to invalidate Governor Cooper’s unlawful Executive Orders that continue to shut down large parts of the economy until he receives the concurrence of the majority of the Council of State as required by law,” Forest said.

Forest, a Republican running against Cooper for governor in the November election, said the lawsuit is not a political move.

“There’s nothing politically expedient about suing the governor, ever,” Forest said. “It doesn’t work in your favor.”

Forest said he believes that “In times of crisis, the rule of law is more important than ever. We must do the right thing, in the right way. No one - governor or citizen - is above the rule of law.”

When asked why he is filing the lawsuit now instead of sooner after Cooper signed the Executive Orders, Forest said he and his team waited to try other avenues first.

The Lt. Gov. said he tried going through multiple channels, asked Cooper for explanations on his decisions, requested scientific data related to those decisions and waited to see if the General Assembly would take up the issue.

A press release from Forest’s office, released on June 25, stated that he will be suing the administration for “violating the Emergency Management Act.”

Lt. Governor Dan Forest plans to sue Governor Cooper’s administration
Lt. Governor Dan Forest plans to sue Governor Cooper’s administration (Source: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest)

“The Governor has repeatedly ignored the law, enacting mandates that selectively target the businesses and citizens of North Carolina without concurrence from a majority of the Council of State. Before I officially file my suit, the Governor is required by law to approve the use of independent legal counsel. State agencies in North Carolina are required to use the Attorney General’s office to file lawsuits or else get an exception from the Governor. As the Attorney General has been responsible for drafting the unlawful Executive Orders I’m challenging, I have decided the only path forward is with independent counsel,” Forest said in the release.

Lt. Governor Dan Forest plans to sue Governor Cooper’s administration
Lt. Governor Dan Forest plans to sue Governor Cooper’s administration (Source: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest)

Forest said on Monday that the lawsuit would be available to the public soon.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved. WITN contributed to this report.