Louisiana Supreme Court sends governor's lawsuit back to 19th Judicial District Court
BATON ROUGE - The Supreme Court of Louisiana sent Governor Edward's lawsuit against the legislature back to the 19th Judicial District Court.
The official decree given by the LASC states:
"For the reasons assigned, the judgment of the district court is vacated and set aside. The case is remanded to the district court, which is instructed to rule upon all non-constitutional arguments, reaching the constitutional challenge only if such a challenge is essential to resolution of the case."
In October, Edwards filed a lawsuit defending his public health emergency order after Louisiana lawmakers filed a petition seeking to remove the state's coronavirus regulations.
Republicans invoked a never-before-used process outlined in state law that allows a majority of House lawmakers to nullify the governor's public health emergency declaration and all restrictions tied to it with a petition.
The 19th Judicial District Court ruled in favor of Edwards, citing the petition as unconstitutional and sending the case to the Supreme Court.
Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a statement in response to the court's decision.
“Today’s action by the Supreme Court maintains that Louisiana is not a dictatorship. No elected official, including the Governor, can ignore or reject the checks and balances that underpin our government.
Since all laws are presumed to be constitutional unless or until the Supreme Court deems otherwise, La. RS 29:768(B) is constitutional. Any elected official, including the Governor, who says otherwise is simply wrong on the basis of law.
As written in the law, the Legislature continues to hold the power to terminate the Governor’s declaration of emergency by petition. By failing to comply with this Legislative directive, the Governor has made his subsequent executive orders aspirational not enforceable.
If the Governor continues to act outside his legal authority, he only further confuses the public.
The wise course of action would be for the Governor to meet with the Legislature and establish common-sense guidelines which fall within the law.”
The Governor's Office released their own statement shortly after.
“Today, the Supreme Court sent the case regarding House Republicans’ petition back to the district court, asking it to rule on a statutory issue before it will consider taking up the issue of constitutionality. As we have always maintained, the Legislature did not properly consult with the public health authority before moving forward with its irresponsible and ill-conceived petition to deny that a public health emergency exists in Louisiana. The Governor’s sensible mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID in Louisiana are in full compliance with the recommendations of state and federal public health experts. Further, all of the courts that have reviewed the orders have found them to be constitutional. Nothing about the Supreme Court's decision changes the fact that the mitigation measures remain in place and that they remain as important as ever. The Governor is confident that when the Supreme Court does ultimately hear the case, it too will uphold the Governor’s orders.”
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