Lt. Gov. Forest drops lawsuit against Gov. Cooper over COVID-19 safety orders, AG Stein says

Lt. Gov. Forest drops lawsuit against Gov. Cooper over COVID-19 safety orders, AG Stein says
A Superior Court judge has rejected Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest’s initial attempt to overthrow some of Governor Roy Cooper’s executive orders related to COVID-19. (Source: WNCN)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Lt. Gov. Dan Forest dropped his lawsuit against Gov. Roy Cooper and his COVID-19 safety executive orders late on Wednesday, according to a tweet from Attorney General Josh Stein.

A Superior Court judge on Tuesday rejected Forest’s initial attempt to overthrow some of Cooper’s executive orders related to COVID-19.

Judge James Gale ruled that Forest “failed to demonstrate that he is likely to succeed on any claims for relief stated in his complaint” but did not go as far to fully dismiss it.

“…the legislature chose statutory language empowering the Governor to act ‘in his discretion,’ and making clear that his power to do so is ‘in addition to any other powers conferred upon the Governor by law,’” the ruling says in part.

Forest was challenging eight of Cooper’s Executive Orders which he had labeled as “shutdown orders.” He argued that the governor should have consulted with the 10-member Council of State before officially putting them into action and also said Cooper violated state law by enacting a quarantine without a court order.

“T[ues]day, 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,” Forest said in a statement. “Ultimately, the people of North Carolina will make the final decision in November.”

A spokesperson for Cooper’s office also responded, saying, “Dan Forest’s lawsuit never had teeth and today’s ruling confirms that. It was never more than a desperate tactic to garner attention for his political campaign. His time would be better spent putting the health and safety of North Carolinians before his own political motivations.”

Forest is running against Cooper in November’s governor’s race.

North Carolina remains in Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan after Cooper extended the order through at least Sept. 11.

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