McClatchy has been writing gleefully about Attorney General Roy Cooper’s criticisms of the GOP-dominated legislature and Governor Pat McCrory. Apparently, ol’ Roy is miffed that Gov. Pat has hired outside counsel to represent the state in the US DOJ’s lawsuit against the voter ID law:
Attorney General Roy Cooper said Tuesday that it is an “unnecessary expense” for Gov. Pat McCrory to hire an outside attorney to represent North Carolina against the Obama administration’s lawsuit challenging the state’s new voting law.
“Our office continues to have the primary responsibility to defend the state,” Cooper told reporters. “Our staff will continue to do that.”
Gov. Pat’s chief counsel defended the move by making the same argument we have: Having Roy Cooper represent the state is kind of like having an attorney represent you in court who has been running around town talking about how guilty you are. It’s hard to have confidence in the quality of your courtroom representation.
Seriously. What is it about Roy Cooper that should give us even an ounce of confidence in him or the North Carolina Department of Justice? This report by the federal public defender’s office certainly doesn’t.
Cooper has sent out fundraising letters attacking the voter ID law and the legislature. The feds have — in fact –included Cooper’s criticisms of the voter ID law in their filing. (Thanks, Roy.) Cooper and the DOJ have been johnny-come-latelies in some of the biggest cases in the state — from the Duke lacrosse case, to political corruption cases against Mike Easley and the Robeson County Sheriff’s Department. Routinely, ol’ Roy has showed up just in time to get in front of the cameras — after someone else has done all of the legwork in the case.
The personnel — and crime lab — issues at the State Bureau of Investigation have been all over the news. The state has had to pay out huge settlements and overturn criminal convictions thanks to those problems.
It’s looking like more than just a concern of political bias. By looking at Cooper’s record — you could quite easily make a case that he’s not competent to represent the people of North Carolina in court.
Ol’ Roy has made it clear that he’s running for governor in 2016. If he plans to spend the next three years attacking the executive and legislative branches of state government, how effective can he be as the state’s lawyer? In court, the other side would have a field day using Cooper’s comments and actions against him and US.
Instead of forcing us to subsidize his 2016 gubernatorial run, Cooper needs to step aside and let someone else — serious about representing and protecting the people of North Carolina — do his job. If he stays in office, and sticks with his current game plan, we – -the people of North Carolina — will have grounds for an ineffective assistance of counsel complaint.