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Unanimous Appeals Court rules against Cooper in latest dispute with General Assembly

A unanimous three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s ruling against Gov. Roy Cooper in his ongoing legal dispute with state legislative leaders.

In this case, appellate judges agreed that the General Assembly has full control over use of federal block grant funds, regardless of whether that use diverges from recommendations in the governor’s proposed budget.

Writing for the court, Judge Lucy Inman finds:

The North Carolina Constitution plainly provides that “[n]o money shall be drawn from the State treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law[.]” The federal laws governing the Block Grants identify the State as the beneficiary of the funds, and they do not prohibit their appropriation by our General Assembly — the branch that wields exclusive constitutional authority over the State’s purse. Though some states, applying their own respective constitutions and statutes, may proscribe state legislative appropriation of federal block grant funds, our Constitution and law does not permit us to be counted amongst them, and the Governor has neither rebutted the presumption that acts of the General Assembly are constitutional nor identified a “plain and clear” constitutional violation.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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