PPH reports “The governor has asked the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to weigh in on whether he needs permission from Janet Mills to hire outside legal counsel in some cases.
Attorney General Janet Mills is asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to take no action on Gov. Paul LePage’s query last month on whether he must seek permission from Mills to hire outside legal counsel in cases where her office declines to defend the administration’s position.
Mills argued in papers filed Friday that the state’s highest court should find that LePage’s “request for opinion” sent on Jan. 23 does not meet the legal hurdle for the court to even consider it. She also argued that one question the governor posed has already been answered by the court in a 1989 ruling and that the other is overly hypothetical.
Lawyers for the governor, however, argued in their own brief filed Friday that LePage is asking serious questions that require an immediate answer. They argue that the court should find that a “solemn occasion” – the required legal hurdle for the justices to hear the questions – exists, and that LePage should be allowed freedom to hire outside lawyers as he chooses.
LePage’s letter to the court asking for intervention in his dispute with Mills marks the first significant effort in the Republican governor’s administration to strip power from the Democratic attorney general, who is elected by the Legislature as the state’s top legal officer.
The court plans to hear arguments on the governor’s request on Feb. 26. Friday was the deadline for the two sides and any other interested party to file briefs for the court to consider before oral arguments. The sides have until Feb. 13 to file additional responses.”
Read more HERE.
BDN reports” Attorney General Janet Mills says the Maine Supreme Judicial Court should ignore questions from Gov. Paul LePage about whether he must continue seeking her approval before hiring outside lawyers to represent the state.
If the attorney general refuses to represent the state in court, the state must obtain her permission to hire an outside attorney.
Mills argued in her brief that state law and previous Maine Supreme Judicial Court opinions make clear that the attorney general is responsible for approving outside counsel to represent any state agency.”
Read more HERE.
A.G. Mills “is responsible for approving outside counsel” and “the state must obtain her permission to hire an outside attorney.”
Peter Brann also filed a brief into this case. Brann was “Assistant Attorney General and then State Solicitor in the Attorney General’s Office between 1981 and 1999. Peter Brann now a partner at Brann & Isaacson, which has been hired as outside counsel on behalf of the State, with the Attorney General’s written approval, in a number of matters.”
Brann states in his brief “Moreover, the Attorney General and his staff are not the equivalent of a private law firm.”
They get around it…..sure has the appearance that the AG has a “private law firm” in its pocket.
Is the “fix” in? Does Peter Brann stand to gain financially with the status quo?
Related: Talkshoe Radio – Discussion on Governor Paul LePages’s Request For Opinion of the Justices With Phil Merletti and Lise DuPont, Author of “Where Did The Original Constitutional State Go?” Click here.