Governor told he can't go solo

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

man signing documentFollowing a challenge by his own solicitor general, the governor of Louisiana has been told by a panel of judges that if he wants to change the law, he can't do it unilaterally but must go through the legislature.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-Louisiana) lost another legal battle last week over his executive order aimed at protecting the rights of LGBT people in state government. A three-judge panel of Louisiana's First Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a lower court's December 2016 decision that the Democratic governor's executive order was an unconstitutional attempt to expand state law.

"Our position all along has been that if the governor wants to change the legal policy – in other words, the law – of Louisiana that he needs to go through the legislature to do it," says Louisiana Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill, who argued and won the case against the governor. "I think most people in Louisiana agree with that."

Attorney General Jeff Landry's office has been criticized for challenging the executive order, primarily by people on social media.

Murrill

"We continue to assert what we believe is the appropriate position and that is that we are defending the Constitution and the will of the people," she explains to OneNewsNow. "If they want to change the law, they need to go through the legislature. We've taken no position on the policy; we just took a position on how he tried to change it."

Governor Edwards has compared his order to the Obama executive order that was continued by President Trump. Both courts in Louisiana rejected that argument, saying the governor's order is fundamentally different.

"The Obama order does not purport to create a new cause of action, it doesn't create new legal rights – and Governor Edwards has consistently refused to concede that his doesn't do that," adds Murrill. "That's part of the reason why we were in continuing litigation over it: because he refused to concede that it didn't create new legal rights, and the court of appeal has said that he can't create new legal rights."

In a statement, Governor Edwards said his office will review the ruling before determining their next step.

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