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Rokita Moves To Stop Holcomb Lawsuit Against General Assembly

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Alan Mbathi/IPB News
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Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita wants Gov. Eric Holcomb’s lawsuit against the General Assembly to stop before it goes any further.

Holcomb sued lawmakers earlier this week over a bill that allows them to call a special session during a public emergency, giving legislators more power to intervene with the governor’s decision-making.

But Rokita said Holcomb isn’t allowed to bring a lawsuit without an OK from the attorney general’s office – and Rokita didn’t give that permission. Indiana law says the state speaks with one voice in court – the attorney general’s. For Holcomb to use private attorneys without authorization, Rokita argued, “[erodes] the state’s defenses.”

The attorney general added that Indiana case law says state officeholders can't ask the courts to weigh in on the constitutionality of statutes. And Rokita further thinks the lawsuit shouldn't advance because there's no reason to rule on its constitutionality at this point – the law hasn't been used.

Additionally, Rokita's motion asking a Marion County court to halt the lawsuit said legislators cannot be sued for the laws they enact.

There is no timetable for how the case will proceed.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.