NC Supremes rule for McCrory over GOP legislators in Coal Ash Commission spat | News
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Friday, January 29, 2016

NC Supremes rule for McCrory over GOP legislators in Coal Ash Commission spat

Posted by on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 2:51 PM

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On Friday, the NC Supreme Court decided for the governor in a more-than-yearlong battle over who gets to pick the commission to oversee McCrory's former employer of 29 years, Duke Energy.

From The News & Observer:



The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Friday that legislators overstepped their authority in 2014 when they created a Coal Ash Commission and others like it to carry out functions of the executive branch.


The ruling comes slightly more than a year after Gov. Pat McCrory and several former governors sued N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, as well as appointed members of the coal ash commission.

“We hold that, while the appointments clause itself places no restrictions on the General Assembly’s ability to appoint statutory officers, the challenged provisions violate the separation of powers clause,” the justices said in their ruling.



In other words, Senate President  Phil Berger and then-House Speaker Thom Tillis got too big for their britches when they led the charge to create a commission in 2014 to oversee cleanup and regulation of coal ash after the big Dan River spill, as well as an Oil and Gas Commission, and a Mining Commission.

Regarding the Coal Commission, legislators said an independent body was needed — in light of a criminal probe into Duke Energy — and they wanted to be in charge of that. 

Unh-uh, said McCrory — commission-appointing is my job. Two former governors (Jim Hunt, a Democrat, and Jim Martin, a Republican) agreed, so much that they joined his lawsuit. Team Governors succeeded with three members of the NC Superior Court in 2015, and today, that cake was iced. 

More from The N&O:



An attorney for the three former governors praised the ruling Friday.

“I’m relieved and gratified that we have a thoughtful opinion grounded in the principles that the founders advanced over two centuries ago, and as our Constitution teaches us, a recurrence to our fundamental principles ... is essential to preserve the blessings of our liberty,” John Wester said. “I’m really hopeful that we’re going to have a better functioning government as a result.”



Sure. We will have. A better. Functioning. Government.

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