Cooper continues to stand by letter of law - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Cooper continues to stand by letter of law

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MIDTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

His legal opinions have on occasion caused a stir on the hill in Nashville, but now in his seventh year as Tennessee state Attorney General Robert Cooper continues to do what his mission statement says he must do.

Not create law but stand by the letter of the law.

State AG Cooper visited midtown Memphis Tuesday to give an update on some legal issues pertinent to the Bluff City.

Although there are rumblings among the state's Republicans to change the position from an appointed one to an elected office, AG Cooper said there are many arguments in favor of keeping things as they are.

For now that would appear to mean keeping the mild mannered Cooper there too.

It's nice when someone gets a job they like. That's why State AG cooper appears to be a man not particularly interested in doing or going anywhere or anything real soon.

"To quote another former colleague, being attorney general is like being paid to eat ice cream," he said.

But, as he indicated in a speech to the Memphis Rotary Club, that ice cream comes in a lot of "flavors" in regards to the issues that are reaching his desk.

State AG Cooper stuck to his word with his audience by promising to "be brief and be gone" during his hour-long appearance. Minus any great detail, the lone Democrat in the Republican dominated State cabinet, skimmed through some of the latest news from his department.

He noted the litigation Tennessee, five other states and the Department of Justice are engaged in by challenging the pending merger between U.S. Air and American Airlines.

"The merger will result in decreased competition and increased prices," he said. "Now, I don't need to remind people in Memphis that cost promises from previous mergers have never materialized."

While AG Cooper admitted the litigation might not have a real impact on Memphis, there are a couple of current issues with Memphis flavor he is monitoring. He said he hasn't read in detail a federal lawsuit filed by the Green Party of Tennessee seeking to throw out the controversial Tennessee voter identification law. The suit claims it's unconstitutional and unfair to minority voters.

Though he said to his knowledge there had been no large number of cases of reported voter fraud in state elections before the ID legislation was passed, he asserts his office will vigorously defend the state law.
 
"We already had one lawsuit challenging the voter identification statute in Tennessee," AG Cooper said. "That has been upheld at the trial level and at the intermediate appellate level. We're still waiting to see what the Tennessee Supreme Court will do with that."

As for the ongoing lawsuit determining the fate of the state landmark Nineteenth Century Club mansion on Union Avenue in midtown, AG Cooper was again non-committal as to whether his office is prepared to null and void the sale and its possible demolition.

"We're certainly aware of the allegations that have been raised in the ongoing litigation," he said. "We have notified the parties that we'll want to have some resolution of those allegations before we can say that his is an appropriate transaction."

No wonder he loves his job, especially if all the ice cream tastes like vanilla.

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