Judge rules against Forest in challenge to Cooper's pandemic orders

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wake County Superior Court Judge has ruled against North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest's request to invalidate Gov. Roy Cooper's COVID-related executive orders while the case is ongoing.

Forest' filed suit against the governor in July for unilaterally closing businesses and mandating face masks in response to COVID-19.

Forest said back in June that the legal filing was not politically motivated but rather in the best interest of the state and its economy. He and Cooper will face off in November to be the state's next governor.

Forest maintained that Cooper had failed to seek or receive support for a half-dozen executive orders since March from the Council of State. That began with a March 17 ban on dine-in restaurant services, which Forest also criticized, saying it would "devastate" the economy.

Cooper and his administration countered that he has other authority to act on his own without the council's "concurrence" to protect health and safety. The 10-member council is composed of Cooper, Forest and eight other statewide elected officials. Six council members are Republican.

On Tuesday, Judge James L. Gale agreed with Cooper, ruling that the governor did not overstep his bounds in making the orders and that Forest was unlikely to win his case.

"Dan Forest's lawsuit never had teeth and today's ruling confirms that. It was never more than a desperate tactic to garner attention for his political campaign," Cooper for NC spokesperson Liz Doherty said. "His time would be better spent putting the health and safety of North Carolinians before his own political motivations."

The lawsuit is still ongoing,

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NOTE: Video is from a previous story and will be updated.
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