RALEIGH, -- North Carolina's highest court is putting brakes on the Republican-dominated legislature's efforts to reshape state government and minimize Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's ability to pursue his goals.

The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that a law forcing Cooper to pick state elections board members from names the political parties select is unconstitutional. Judges said the law makes Cooper unable to fulfill his duties to make sure election laws are followed.

It's the first of what may be several times the high court could be forced to referee the ongoing political battle for control in Raleigh.

The GOP-led legislature started changing laws on who organizes and manages elections soon after Cooper narrowly beat incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016.

Governor Roy Cooper tweeted this statement,

"I appreciate the Court's careful consideration. Access to the ballot box is vital to our democratic process and I will continue to protect fair elections and the right of North Carolinians to vote."

The North Carolina Democratic Party released the following statement,

“Today’s ruling is yet another victory for good government in North Carolina and our constitutional checks and balances. Republican’s unconstitutional efforts to undermine our electoral system was nothing more than a backdoor attempt at voter suppression to rig the system in their favor. We applaud the court for protecting the sanctity of our elections and call on Republicans to give up their partisan attacks on our state agencies and our judicial system.”

WFMY News 2 has reached out to the NC Republican Party for a response. We'll update this story when we receive it.

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