May 25, 2021

Indiana Attorney General Argues Governor Exceeding Authority

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2021 file photo, Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks, in Indianapolis. Indiana's attorney general took aim Friday, May 1, 2021, at Gov. Eric Holcomb's attempt to block a new law giving state legislators more authority to intervene during public emergencies declared by the governor.  - AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2021 file photo, Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks, in Indianapolis. Indiana's attorney general took aim Friday, May 1, 2021, at Gov. Eric Holcomb's attempt to block a new law giving state legislators more authority to intervene during public emergencies declared by the governor.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s attorney general is arguing that the governor is wrongly trying to use the courts to expand his powers with a lawsuit challenging the authority state legislators have given themselves to intervene during public emergencies.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb asked a judge last month to block the new law passed by the GOP-dominated Legislature following criticism from many conservatives over the statewide mask mandate and other COVID-19 restrictions that Holcomb imposed by executive orders.

Attorney General Todd Rokita, also a Republican, argues in court documents filed late Monday that he is within his legal authority to turn down Holcomb’s request to take the dispute to court after the Legislature overrode the governor’s veto of the new law.

“A lawsuit by the Governor against legislators to invalidate a law enacted over the Governor’s veto amounts to a demand for a ‘super’ veto via the judiciary,” the attorney general’s court filing said.

Holcomb’s lawyers argued last week that Rokita was making “absurd” arguments that he alone has the legal authority to represent the state in court and can decide whether the new law is constitutional.

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