INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s lawsuit against the General Assembly may not get a hearing if the attorney general succeeds in blocking it.
The lawsuit claims state lawmakers passed an unconstitutional law allowing them to call themselves into session during a declared public emergency.
Both Holcomb and AG Todd Rokita feel it’s their job to settle this dispute.
“I took an oath to uphold and support the Indiana constitution,” said Gov. Holcomb.
“I have a duty to defend all of our statutes,” said Rokita. “As long as there is a good faith reason to do it, and there certainly is here.”
Rokita argues the governor’s power ended when he vetoed the bill and said Holcomb should not be allowed to bring this to court. He feels that would set a bad precedent for future governors when they do not agree with a veto override. That’s why he’s trying to block the suit.
“Now if a citizen of the state or anyone else can prove that they were injured by this law, that’s the proper approach,” said Rokita.
However, Holcomb feels it is his responsibility to challenge this law in court. He said the state constitution specifically grants the power to call a special session to the governor. The General Assembly argues it didn’t say lawmakers couldn’t.
“I’ve left it to the lawyers to make sure that all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted on the filing,” said Holcomb.
The two state leaders share the same political party and work in the same building, right down the hall from each other. So, how is Rokita’s decision to block Holcomb’s lawsuit impacting their relationship?
“We are not rivals. We work on other issues almost weekly,” said Rokita.
Before he was elected attorney general, Rokita publicly expressed support for the General Assembly calling itself into session. Reporter Kayla Sullivan asked if his personal opinion on the law played a role in his efforts to block the lawsuit.
“My personal belief as an attorney, and especially as attorney general, is sort of irrelevant,” said Rokita. “It’s really, do I have a good faith opportunity to defend the statute? And if I do, I have a duty to do it.”
Both feel they have a strong case.
“If I wasn’t confident, I wouldn’t have filed it,” said Holcomb.
“If the courts side with precedent that we have had in this state on a number of cases, for decades, I am 100% certain that we will prevail and that this suit will be dismissed in favor of these legislators,” said Rokita.
We will continue following this court battle and bring you developments as we get them.