Raleigh, NC – Today (Feb. 23), the North Carolina Senate continued its longstanding pattern of political theatrics by threatening to subpoena Larry Hall.
As the courts consider the unconstitutional power grab by Republicans in the General Assembly, Governor Cooper has continued to abide by a February 14 court ruling which found that the Senate “cannot begin the advice and consent process until the governor submits a nominee,” and that the Governor has until May 15th to formally submit his picks.
The three-judge panel also denied Cooper’s motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the confirmation hearings until the matter can be decided in court on March 7. Republican Senate leaders took that part of the ruling to justify going ahead with the confirmation hearings. They note that Cooper has already announced, sworn in and begun paying eight Cabinet selections, and argue it is disingenuous to say the nomination process is not already underway.
The standoff between Gov. Roy Cooper and state senators over who has the authority to approve the governor’s Cabinet appointments escalated to threats and angry retorts on Wednesday (Feb. 22).
For the second time, Larry Hall, selected to run the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, failed to attend a Senate hearing on his confirmation. Republican senators said they would vote against his nomination if he fails to show at a third hearing Thursday (Feb. 23).
Cooper has sued to challenge the Senate’s authority to approve his nominations. The Republican-controlled legislature put the confirmation process in place after the Democrat’s election as governor last November. Cooper says Wednesday’s nomination hearing violates a court ruling last week that found the nomination process can’t begin until the governor has submitted his nominations and that he has until May 15 to do so.
Instead of honoring that ruling, Republicans in the General Assembly today (Feb. 23) threatened to subpoena Larry Hall, despite his unquestionable qualifications for the role and his long history of service to America and the state of North Carolina. Hall’s record includes:
- 16 years of service in the US Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserves including serving in operations in the Middle East, in Lebanon and Iran. He retired at the rank of Major.
- Being awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, the Marine Corps Reserve Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and a Meritorious Unit Citation from the United States Marine Corps.
- Service in the North Carolina House, including as Vice-Chair of the NC House Committee on Veterans Affairs. In addition, Hall was a Primary Sponsor of the “Honor Fallen Soldiers” Act (H169, adopted 5/23/13), which honored North Carolinian Service Members Killed In Action. Hall was also member of the bi-partisan Veterans Caucus.
- Active involvement in auxiliary service since retired from the Marine Corps, including as Commandant in the Durham Detachment of the Marine Corps League, Adjutant and Pay Master in the Durham Detachment of the Marine Corps League, and State Public Relations Officer for the Marine Corp League of North Carolina.
Sen. Wesley Meredith, a Republican from Fayetteville who chaired the committee meeting, said Hall should attend even if Cooper tells him not to. Failure to do so would provide a legal reason not to confirm him, Meredith said, because it would indicate Hall was not willing to follow the law.
“We are very disappointed,” Meredith said, announcing that the committee would give Hall a third chance out of courtesy because he is a former colleague in the state legislature. “… There are consequences when a state official refuses to follow the law,” he said.
Meredith then gaveled the five-minute meeting to a close, ignoring efforts by Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat, to speak. Afterward, McKissick was livid, telling reporters it was a “sham hearing” that had been prohibited by a court order.
“This should never have been held,” he said. “They’re wasting time on things that are absolutely just political charades.”
“Today’s unlawful threat to subpoena Larry Hall, someone who is unquestionably qualified, offers further proof that Republicans in the General Assembly care more about political stunts than doing what’s right for North Carolina, said NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds.
“Instead of wasting our time and money on these political games, Senator Berger and his colleagues should actually do their job and work with Governor Cooper to raise teacher pay and repeal House Bill 2.”
source: NCDP.org; www.newsobserver.com