North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said in a letter Thursday to Gov. Roy Cooper that he intends to sue him for his executive orders issued during the coronavirus pandemic.
Forest, a Republican, alleges that Cooper, a Democrat, issued a series of orders without seeking input from the State Council, a group of 10 lawmakers that includes the secretary of state and the attorney general.
“The Emergency Management Act requires that you seek and receive the approval of the State Council before exercising the Governor’s most expansive state emergency powers,” Forest wrote.
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Forest said Cooper consulted the council before issuing a March 17 order prohibiting restaurants from operating the dinner service and still proceeded with the mandate after lawmakers voiced their objections. Cooper has not consulted with the council before issuing a series of executive orders since then, Forest said.
The most recent mandate came on Wednesday when Cooper ordered the use of masks in public and extended the second phase of his planned reopening of the state’s economy until July 17.
Cooper defended the order of the masks on Wednesday and said “we don’t want to go back.” The measure occurs when the virus has re-emerged in various states, erasing months of progress.
In the letter, Forest said Cooper made it “impossible” for him and the council to “keep our oaths to uphold the laws of North Carolina.”
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He asked Cooper to waive the requirement that state Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, represent him in his lawsuit to avoid a conflict of interest. He said he plans to use outside legal advice.
Messages to Fox News’ Cooper office were not immediately returned.