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Forest lawyer: Cooper must ‘follow the law’ on virus orders

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest wants Gov. Roy Cooper to “simply follow the law” and get formal support of his COVID-19 executive orders from other elected officials, Forest’s attorney wrote Friday in a legal challenge.

Forest, a Republican, responded to arguments that Cooper’s state lawyers made earlier this week in which they explained why a judge shouldn’t block enforcement of the Democratic incumbent’s coronavirus orders. A court hearing on Forest’s demand to have those orders suspended temporarily is scheduled for Tuesday.

Cooper and Forest are running for governor in November.

Forest’s lawsuit says Cooper’s orders limiting mass assemblies, shuttering businesses and mandating face coverings in public places were issued without the required concurrence of the 10-member Council of State. Cooper says he didn’t need the council’s consent, and that he could act unilaterally when an emergency got beyond the ability of local governments to handle.

Forest attorney Steven Walker wrote that Cooper incorrectly claimed that Forest wants to “bar the governor from taking emergency measures that are necessary to help protect the people of North Carolina from the most serious public health crisis that this state has faced in over a century.”

Rather, Walker told state Judge Jim Gale that “the lieutenant governor is asking the court to instruct the governor to simply follow the law when taking those emergency measures.”

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