Gov. Cooper, Republican lawmakers back at NC Supreme Court

Gov. Roy Cooper speaks during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C. Photo via NC Dept. of Public Safety

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican legislators are returning to North Carolina’s highest court for their latest push and pull over powers held by state government branches.

The state Supreme Court scheduled arguments on Monday from lawyers for Cooper and GOP legislative leaders in Cooper’s lawsuit challenging how federal block grant money is spent.

At issue is $17 million contained in the 2017 state budget law. The legislature decided to spend those federal dollars differently than how Cooper wanted to use them.

A Court of Appeals panel ruled last year that the General Assembly controlled the money because it resided within the “state treasury.” But Cooper says the federal grants aren’t state dollars, and it’s the governor’s duty to ensure they’re spent in a manner dictated by Congress.

Cooper has sued over several legislative actions, with some happening even before he took office in early 2017. The litigation results have been mixed for Cooper.