Indiana attorney general files papers with Indiana Supreme Court following governor’s lawsuit

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (WEHT)– The Office of the Indiana Attorney General filed papers directly with the Indiana Supreme Court to stop the Holcomb v. Bray lawsuit. The Governor is suing the Indiana legislature because it overrode Governor Holcomb’s veto of a duly passed, and now enacted, piece of legislation while that body is still in session conducting business.

“We are asking the Supreme Court to stop the executive branch power grab underway by preserving the constitutional protections that are meant to preserve Hoosiers’ individual liberty and that have served Indiana well for more than 100 years,” said Attorney General Todd Rokita. “Allowing the Governor’s lawsuit to continue confers power on the judiciary, the branch of government that, by design, is least representative of the people. This power grab by the Governor and the authority it would give to the courts to interfere with political decisions should scare us all.”

Attorney General Rokita says to keep power in check and costs low they will continue to fight this battle. He says this approach is aimed to help save the taxpayers from costly litigation at the lower court level on a case that will likely end up before the Supreme Court anyway.

“The Attorney General’s Office was created to enable the state to speak with one voice on legal matters,” said Attorney General Rokita. “The reasons are straightforward: allowing the branches to sue one another, or individual office holders to do the same, whenever they want, will add significant costs for taxpayers as well as create confusing and unsettled policies for all Hoosiers.”

The office’s petition for writ of mandamus comes after a Marion County court ruled the Governor’s lawsuit may continue in his court and denying the Office of the Attorney General’s request to make a preliminary appeal of all the issues raised to date.

The attorneys of the Office of the Attorney General have modified their representation of the parties to exclude the Governor and will continue to take up that issue through the regular appellate process, if that becomes necessary.

Rokita says the Office of the Attorney General is authorized to represent all state elected public officials in court, so there is no conflict under the Court’s Professional Rules of Conduct, which are subject to Indiana statutes.

A petition for writ of mandamus is filed directly with the Supreme Court, rather than a typical appeal working its way up through the lower courts leading to the Supreme Court. A narrow category of cases may be filed directly with the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General’s Office is arguing that some of the issues raised in the Governor’s lawsuit meet that standard.

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