Good news -- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and Governor Roy Cooper have formally withdrawn the state's request for a Supreme Court review of a lower court ruling against the state's voter suppression law.
Stein and Cooper’s chief counsel sent a letter on Tuesday discharging private attorneys who had been representing the state in an appeal of the 4th U.S. Fourth Circuit ruling last year that described key provisions of a 2013 elections law overhaul as targeting “African Americans with almost surgical precision” to limit their participation in elections.
“We need to make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote, not harder, and I will not continue to waste time and money appealing this unconstitutional law,” Cooper said in a statement announcing the step.
As you may recall, Roy Cooper declined to defend the state's position in court as attorney general. Former Governor Pat McCrory responded by bypassing Cooper and hiring noted serial failure and former Solicitor General Paul Clement to serve as private counsel.
Now, if I may indulge for a moment, I'd like to highlight Paul Clement's failure for what almost certainly won't be the last time.
I appreciate that highly experienced counsel may be hard to come by, but Paul Clement is a highly experienced and expensive failure. Paul Clement failed to take down Obamacare on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). He failed to support Arizona's "Papers Please" anti-immigration law SB 1070. Clement failed to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on behalf of our Republican-controlled Congress. He failed to stop Seattle's $15 minimum wage law on behalf of local business owners. And he failed to defend North Carolina's voter ID law.
As I've said several times before, it may actually be preferable if Republicans continue to hire Paul Clement to represent them in court because he loses virtually every case.
It may be true that he's been asked to defend or attack laws that were simply indefensible or unassailable, but his losing streak shows no signs of stopping.