Indiana Lawyer Common Rokita argues Holcomb has exceeded authority – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana climate
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana’s attorney general argues that the governor is falsely attempting to use the courts to expand his powers through a lawsuit challenging the agency that state lawmakers have pledged to intervene in public emergencies.
Republican Governor Eric Holcomb last month asked a judge to block the new bill passed by the GOP-dominated legislature after many Conservatives criticized Holcomb’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Attorney General Todd Rokita argues in new court documents that he has legal authority to deny Holcomb’s motion to take the dispute to court after lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto of the new law.
From May 17, 2021
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Governor Eric Holcomb called out Attorney General Todd Rokita Monday as part of Republicans’ constitutional battle over a new Emergency Powers Act.
The House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1123 allowed lawmakers to convene an emergency session if the governor declared a state of emergency. The law came after some lawmakers expressed the need for stronger power to intervene as the governor issued emergency orders during the coronavirus pandemic.
Holcomb and some legal experts have questioned the legality of the law because the Indiana Constitution gives the governor – not the legislature – the power to convene a special session.
The House passed Law 64-33 on April 5 as part of a report by the Conference Committee. The Senate vote was 37-10.
Holcomb vetoed the bill on April 9, and lawmakers overturned that veto on April 15 by 59 votes to 26 in the House of Representatives and 36 to 8 in the Senate.
On April 27, Holcomb filed a lawsuit against Senate President Rodric Bray and House Speaker Todd Huston. The governor asked Marion Superior Court 12 to review the law and issue a standing order to prevent it from being applied. The court has not set any dates for the hearing of the case until Monday.
On April 30, Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita urged the court to dismiss Holcomb’s lawsuit. His office was supposed to resolve the matter, and the governor had Rokita’s permission to hire outside lawyers.
Holcomb’s attorney filed a 31-page response to Rokita on Monday. The answer begins: “Contrary to what Attorney General Rokita claims, this is not a case of a governor suing lawmakers for” laws he dislikes. “
The governor’s response also stated: “In particular, Attorney General Rokita is not attempting to intervene in this lawsuit to represent the governor or to pursue his claims. Rather, he takes the remarkable position that, as the Attorney General, he has the sole power and authority to determine whether HEA 1123 is constitutional. If, after his judgment, he finds it constitutional, he believes that he has the power to prevent the governor from obtaining legal representation and redress. “
The answer partially concludes: “In attempting to remove Governor Holcomb’s attorney and replace him, Attorney General Rokita is attempting the governor’s attempt to prevent the General Assembly from usurping its constitutional powers to restrict. “
This year’s legislature was never formally interrupted because of the state’s ongoing coronavirus emergency and the fact that lawmakers had been waiting for census numbers to redistribute the state’s U.S. Congressional districts, as well as the Senate and House districts.