Taxpayers forced to pay for outside counsel to defend Louisiana

C.B. Forgotston
July 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

On Friday, the Louisiana Supreme Court handed-down a decision declaring unconstitutional the only piece of Bobby Jindal’s 2012 "pension reform" plan to pass the legislature. The court said it didn’t pass.

The Louisiana Constitution Article IV, Section 8 reads in part:

"There shall be a Department of Justice, headed by the attorney general, who shall be the chief legal officer of the state."

As the "chief legal officer" one of the primary responsibilities of the Attorney General is to defend the state against all lawsuits.

However, in the last year the state taxpayers have been forced by Jindal (who pushed aside the AG) to pay hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, for outside counsel to defend the state.

Laws pushed by Jindal during the 2012 Regular Session have resulted in numerous lawsuits against the state questioning their constitutionality, which a first year law student would have known were patently unconstitutional when the leges passed them.

In the FY14 Budget, the Office of Attorney General has been appropriated $54 million. The Civil Law Division alone is appropriated over $12 million and has 76 employees, many of whom are licensed Louisiana lawyers.

These lawyers get paid whether they write opinions or defend the state against lawsuits. They are full-time employees of the AG.

Jindal, a non-lawyer, determined that none of the attorneys in the AG’s office were qualified to defend the state and selected his own attorneys.

Those attorneys were Jindal cronies as opposed to expert counsel. The results have been obvious. The state has lost every case outright (in the district court) and one has been remanded back by the Supremes to the lower court for further hearing.

It would be much cheaper for us taxpayers if Jindal simply allowed the AG’s staff attorneys to lose the cases.

Pressure mounts with Strain announcement

Over the weekend State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain announced that he would not be running for governor in 2015.

This long-standing Louisiana precedent of announcing what one is not going to run for in Louisiana can be nerve-wracking. It puts pressure on all of us because until we announce what we are not going to run for it is assumed that we are running for something.

In an effort to mitigate some of the pressure, today, I am formally announcing that, after prayerful consideration and consultation with my family and supporters, I will make an announcement in the very near future about what I will not run for.

When a decision on what not to run for has been reached it will be released to everyone at the same time. Meanwhile, the media is humbly requested to not put any further pressure on my family and supporters.

Thank you for respecting our wishes.


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