‘ I have serious reservations on the legality of his order…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Shortly after Ace Speedway declared itself to be a “peaceful protest,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called the venue an “imminent hazard” and ordered Alamance County authorities to close it, The News & Observer reported.
Cooper’s executive order limits the size of outside gatherings to 25 people in clear defiance of the First Amendment, which guarantees the “right of the people peaceably to assemble” for any purpose.
As Cooper targets the speedway that can hold 2,500 people, he continues to encourage Black Lives Matter protesters who gather in groups larger than 25 people.
The governor’s office said Ace Speedway can operate if they draft a reopening plan that the Department of Health and Human Services approves.
The speedway has planned its next event for June 19.
Cooper ordered the speedway to announce its intention to cancel events through June 22. Ace Speedway must publish the notice by 5 p.m. on June 9.
The speedway’s owners have not published anything about the order.
Amy Galey, who chairs the Alamance County Board of Commissioners, said she will let Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson decide if he should enforce Cooper’s unconstitutional order.
“This is a law enforcement issue, not a county government issue,” Galey wrote. “There is no role for the Board of Commissioners in enforcing an Executive Order.”
Johnson questioned Cooper’s rationale for closing the race venue while allowing much larger gatherings, such as protests and church services, to continue.
Cooper has not harassed other racing venues, such as 311 Speedway in Stokes County, Johnson said.
He said Cooper is motivated by political gain.
“I assure you that I respect the Office of the Governor of North Carolina but I have serious reservations on the legality of his order,” Johnson wrote in a statement released Monday night, The News & Observer reported.