(UPDATED) Maine Supreme Judicial Court Rules Against Governor LePage, Upholds 71 Laws
(Breaking story; will be updated as needed. ~AP)
As anticipated, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court wasted no time in coming back with a speedy response to last week’s hour long hearing, issuing the following opinion today: a 6-0 smack-down of Governor LePage (PDF).
Attorney General Janet T. Mills: “The Office of the Attorney General is pleased with the full and complete responses to the Governor’s questions elucidated in the unanimous 47 page opinion today. The Opinion of the Justices is on all fours with all the research conducted by our Office and with the Opinion of the Attorney General of July 10, 2015. We are also pleased that the Court ruled expeditiously so as to avoid any further unnecessary debate and confusion. The answers to the Governor’s questions are clear, unambiguous and completely consistent with his own past practice and with that of every other Governor in recent memory. Except when the Legislature has adjourned sine die, the Chief Executive has ten days (excluding Sundays) within which to return any bills with his objections. By his failure to do so, he has forfeited the right to veto any of the bills at issue.”
Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-N. Berwick): “The court has rightly rejected Gov. Paul LePage’s legal gymnastics. The decision affirms these bills are law. The governor must enforce them. The ruling also reaffirms the Constitution, historical precedent, and honors the separation of powers in our Democracy that protects against partisanship and abuse of power. The decision is a victory a huge win for Maine women, families, seniors, and veterans, who will see great benefits from the laws we passed.”
House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan): “This ruling is a victory for the Maine people and the Maine constitution. It affirms both the good bipartisan work of the Legislature and the separation of powers. I call on Governor LePage to abide by the Court’s opinion, fulfill his constitutional duties and enforce all 71 laws that were duly passed by the Legislature.”
Asst House Majority Leader Sara Gideon (D-Freeport): “The Supreme Court has confirmed what we’ve long known – the Legislature has the sole power to decide when it is adjourned. Today’s ruling ensures Maine will make progress on key issues like women’s health, veterans’ services, domestic violence, drug overdose deaths, affordable housing for seniors and many more. I look forward to the executive branch implementing these laws and doing the work the people hired them to do.”
And the verdict is in. Governor's effort to delay, distract and rewrite Maine's Constitution unanimously rejected. #mepolitics
— Phil Bartlett (@PhilMaine) August 6, 2015
— Steve Mistler (@stevemistler) August 6, 2015
— Paul Merrill (@PaulMerrillWMTW) August 6, 2015
— Mario Moretto (@riocarmine) August 6, 2015
— MPA (@mainepeople) August 6, 2015
Breaking: ME Supreme Judicial Court rules – bills are law! #mepolitics
— ACLU of Maine (@ACLUMaine) August 6, 2015
Statement of Senate President Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo):
- “Today, Maine’s highest court confirmed that the Governor’s inaction on these 65 bills resulted in them becoming law. While I am disappointed that some of these measures are now law, I am pleased that we have a court opinion which reaffirms the longstanding, 195-year old practice of dealing with vetoes that is outlined in the Constitution.
We should now move past this dispute and use this as an opportunity to change the tone in Augusta. The executive and legislative branches must work together. I encourage the Administration to reset their relationship with the Legislature to foster an environment of engagement and collaboration. Effective leadership requires instilling confidence both in our colleagues in Augusta and constituents back home. When that confidence is shaken we should not be surprised when we are unable to accomplish our goals. By working together we can all accomplish great things for the people of Maine.”
- “Today’s court opinion reaffirmed what virtually every observer knew from the very beginning – that the Governor’s interpretation of the Constitution was incorrect. As he has stated, the Governor’s aim with these vetoes was to waste the Legislature’s time.
Going forward, as Republicans, we need to refocus on effectively governing the State of Maine. As Republicans, we are proud to stand by the principles of honesty, integrity, and good government. We hope that this ruling will result in a different pattern of conduct from this Administration, one that more closely resembles the tradition of Maine Republican statesmanship that so many of our elected officials have exemplified. The time for political games, inflammatory rhetoric, and irresponsible governing is over.”
I am getting private notes that Maine Democrats won at the Supreme Court today . SORRY, uh no . The LAW won & the Constitution was followed
— Ray Richardson (@RayRichardsonJr) August 6, 2015