McCrory v. Berger before N.C. Supreme Court today

nc-supremecourt-1RALEIGH – It will be a busy day in Raleigh today as the state Senate convenes at 9:30 this morning to debate the continuing resolution that will keep the government functioning for 45 days past tonight’s midnight deadline. Also at 9:30 and just a short way across Union Square, another important debate will take place as the N.C. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Patrick L. McCrory, et al. v. Philip E. Berger, et al.

The case before the Supreme Court tests the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches in the state. Gov. Pat McCrory, who was joined by former N.C. governors Jim Martin and Jim Hunt, sued the General Assembly over its creation of independent commissions filled with mostly legislative appointments. McCrory says the independent commissions, such as the Coal Ash Management Commission, exercise executive functions and therefore must report to him or allow him to appoint all commissioners.

McCrory won when the case went before three-judge panel in March, with the judges noting that in the case of the coal ash commission, “the legislature cannot constitutionally create that commission as an independent instrumentality of the state, independent of each of the three branches of government.”

“This historic and unanimous ruling respects and restores the separation of powers,” McCrory said at the time. “I’m proud to stand up for our Constitution and the citizens of North Carolina.”

Legislative leaders appealed to the Supreme Court, who will hear arguments today but are not expected to decide the case.