North Carolina’s top court: Legislators can confirm Cabinet

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s highest court has upheld a law subjecting the governor’s choices to run his top agencies to confirmation votes by the state Senate.

The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday in favor of Republican legislative leaders who passed the confirmation requirement for Cabinet secretaries before Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper took office in 2017. Cooper sued over the new process, calling it unconstitutional.

Lower courts had sided with GOP lawmakers. Chief Justice Mark Martin wrote Friday that the confirmation requirement doesn’t violate the constitutional principle of separating the executive and legislative branches.

Martin says the governor still retains power over whom he nominates and has ample control over secretaries once confirmed, including the ability to fire them.

The law was among several approved in late 2016 to check Cooper’s powers.

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