AUDIO LINK HERE.On July 17, Governor Paul LePage submitted the following questions to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court pursuant to Article VI, Section 3 of the Maine Constitution:
- What form of adjournment prevents the return of a bill to the Legislature as contemplated by the use of the word, adjournment, in Art. IV, pt. 3, §2 of the Maine Constitution?
- Did any of the action or inaction by the Legislature trigger the
constitutional three-day procedure for the exercise of the Governor’s veto?
- Are the 65 bills I returned to the Legislature on July 16 properly before that body for reconsideration?
The Court announced that they would hear the arguments within 2 weeks of the governor’s request. They also posted all documents submitted.
- Letter from Governor Paul R. LePage to the Justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, dated and filed July 17, 2015, containing request for an Opinion of the Justices (with Exhibits 1-8).
- Procedural Order dated July 20, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.
- Disclosure, Maine Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3(E)(3), dated July 20, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.
- Brief of Audrey Spence of Portland, filed July 23, 2015
- Recusal of Hjelm, J., filed July 23, 2015
- Brief of American Civil Liberties Union of Maine Foundation, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Lise McLain and Dorothy Lafortune, of Gilead and Portland, respectively, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Representatives Kenneth W. Fredette, Eleanor M. Espling, and Jeffrey L. Timberlake, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Governor Paul R. LePage, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Maine Family Planning, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, Maine Primary Care Association, and Maine Nurse Practitioner Association, filed July 24, 2015
- Brief of the Attorney General, filed July 24, 2015
- Reply brief of Audrey Spence, filed July 27, 2015
- Reply brief of Governor Paul R. LePage, filed July 29, 2015
- Reply brief of Representatives Kenneth W. Fredette, Eleanor M. Espling, and Jeffrey L. Timberlake, filed July 29, 2015
- Request to participate in oral argument of Representatives Kenneth W. Fredette, Eleanor M. Espling, and Jeffrey L. Timberlake, filed July 29, 2015
- Reply brief of Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives, filed July 29, 2015
- Order on Oral Argument Process, dated July 29, 2015
- Disclosure by Chief Justice, dated July 30, 2015
From a media advisory:
STATE OF MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT Docket No. OJ-15-2 In the Matter of Request for Opinion of the Justices
ORAL ARGUMENT PROCESS
The Justices will hold Oral Argument on the Governor’s Request for an Opinion of the Justices at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 31, 2015, in Courtroom 12 of the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland.
The argument will proceed as follows:
- 1. Counsel for the Governor (Cynthia Montgomery) will be allotted fifteen minutes for argument. Up to three uninterrupted minutes may be reserved; up to two minutes may be reserved for rebuttal.
2. Counsel for Representatives Kenneth W. Fredette, Eleanor M. Espling, and Jeffrey L. Timberlake (Clinton Boothby) will then be allotted up to five minutes for argument. No uninterrupted or rebuttal time is allotted.
3. Counsel for the President of the Maine Senate and the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives (Timothy Woodcock) will then be allotted up to fifteen minutes for argument. Up to three uninterrupted minutes may be reserved, but no rebuttal time is allotted.
4. Counsel for the Attorney General (Rosemary Gardiner) will then be allotted up to five minutes for argument. No uninterrupted or rebuttal time is allotted.
5. Counsel for the Governor will then argue in rebuttal if time has been reserved.
Here is the full press pool video.
Afterwards, Rep. Jeff Timberlake (R-Turner), Rep. Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough) and former Secretary of State Senator Bill Diamond (D-Cumberland) met with press to discuss the just concluded Maine Supreme Judicial Court oral arguments heard regarding the 65 vetoes disputed by Maine Governor Paul LePage.
Democratic House leadership released statements.
Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-N Berwick): “We thank the court for an incredibly fair, thorough and respectful hearing that reflects the seriousness of the issue. We are confident in our position that the laws in question must be enforced by the governor. We have faith the court will make the correct ruling on behalf of the people of Maine.”
House Majority Leader Rep. Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan): “It is unfortunate that the governor chose to waste our tax dollars on lawyers and trials instead of admitting he made a mistake. I am confident that the justices will uphold over 100 years of legal precedent and that the 71 new laws that passed with bipartisan cooperation will stand.”
No word as to when there will be a response from the justices, but it could be fairly quickly.
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