Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Lawlessness
It’s a sad day in America when federal judges disenfranchise the average American citizen and elected officials stand in front of the press and announce they won’t do the job they’ve been elected to do. But that’s exactly what we saw in North Carolina last week.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes North Carolina, overturned Virginia’s marriage amendment last week, erroneously finding that there is a “fundamental right” to same-sex marriage. Two judges sitting in Richmond overrode the will of the people of Virginia who voted for the amendment by a landslide 57 percent.
Federal judges should have no authority to overthrow state marriage amendments, which are passed by millions of people by ballot referendum. Even the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in Windsor that the states have historically and by court precedent had the right to determine marriage policy for themselves.
But even more outrageous than federal judges playing God with the definition of marriage is our Attorney General Roy Cooper, who has decided that he no longer wants to do the job he was elected to do – defend the laws and Constitution of North Carolina.
Cooper barely waited for the ink to dry on the Fourth Circuit’s opinion before he gathered the press to announce that he will no longer defend North Carolina’s marriage amendment.
Not only that, but Cooper indicated that he intends to help overturn the amendment. He said he would no longer stand in the way of the cases proceeding, which means he will not object to the legal arguments put forward by the ACLU and the homosexual couples they represent. This could even mean he will argue that our amendment should be overturned by the courts.
It’s true that the Fourth Circuit’s decision in the Virginia case foretells how the same court would likely rule on the challenges pending to our amendment. However, it is not within Cooper’s discretion to determine that a decision on Virginia’s amendment somehow invalidates North Carolina’s, especially since no judge has found it unconstitutional.
Cooper should be vigorously defending North Carolina’s amendment, making every argument and opposing any motion put forth by the ACLU.
The ruling on Virginia’s amendment is not final until the Supreme Court rules on its appeal. Cooper’s actions are brazenly defiant of his constitutional duties. Just because he personally doesn’t like our marriage amendment doesn’t give him the right to “throw in the towel” on behalf of the rest of us.
It was clear last fall that Roy Cooper would be no advocate for the marriage amendment when he announced his opposition to it and served as the keynote speaker at an event for one of the groups that opposes it. So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he would capitulate this easily.
What was a surprise, however, was his claim that his attorneys had “made every argument possible” to defend our amendment. Really? As an attorney, I can tell you that the attorney general’s office has failed to make some of the most critical arguments in favor of our marriage amendment.
His dereliction of duty is truly an outrage, and, arguably, a reason for him to be removed from office.
It’s no secret that Cooper is running for governor in 2016. But Cooper is not doing his job as attorney general, so why would the voters of North Carolina want to make him governor?
Lobbyist Tami Fitzgerald is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, which seeks to advance faith, family, and freedom in the culture of North Carolina from a Christian worldview by engaging Christians in voting, informing voters about which candidates share their values, and advancing public policies that create a culture in which human life is valued, marriage and families flourish, and religious liberty thrives.