Judge denies Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s push to halt shutdown orders amid pandemic

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Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s injunction sought to reopen specific sectors of North Carolina’s economy amid the ongoing pandemic has been denied by a Superior Court judge, WRAL reports.

Forest argued that Gov. Roy Cooper didn’t get the support from other NC officials that he needed to enact shutdown orders.

In a letter to Cooper in June, Forest said the governor has “repeatedly ignored the law, enacting mandates that selectively target the businesses and citizens of North Carolina without concurrence from a majority of the Council of State.”

Cooper has issued several executive orders since the onset of the pandemic. On August 5, Cooper extended the second phase of the state’s reopening for five weeks.

In his letter, Forest alleged that Cooper’s declarations made it “impossible” for him and other members of the Council of State — a group of 10 elected officials including the state’s attorney general and secretary of state — to “fulfill our oaths to uphold the laws of North Carolina.”

“The Emergency Management Act requires that you seek and receive concurrence from the Council of State prior to exercising the most expansive statewide emergency powers of the Governor,” Forest wrote in the letter.

“There’s no room for politics during a pandemic,” Dory MacMillan, the governor’s press secretary, said in an email. “The Governor will continue to be guided by science and the law as he works every day with public health experts to keep North Carolinians safe.”

Forest is running against Cooper in the November gubernatorial election.

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