The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, July 21, 2021 1:00 am

Judge says Holcomb's case can continue

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

A Marion County judge dealt Attorney General Todd Rokita another blow Tuesday when the judge denied a request to pause a case about constitutional powers for an immediate appeal.

That means Gov. Eric Holcomb's case questioning the constitutionality of a new law moves forward instead of moving to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Marion Superior Court Judge Patrick Dietrick earlier denied Rokita's attempt to toss the lawsuit. And, on Tuesday, Dietrick denied the appeal attempt – with no explanation.

A hearing on the merits of the case is set for Sept. 10. Until now, the only issue has been Rokita arguing that Holcomb can't file suit without his permission.

At issue is whether the legislature can call itself into emergency session despite the Indiana Constitution giving that power to the governor. Lawmakers passed House Enrolled Act 1123 this year, and Holcomb vetoed it. The legislature then overrode it, and Holcomb sued.

On Monday, Holcomb's attorneys filed a brief in opposition to Rokita's request for an interlocutory appeal.

“Whatever interest Attorney General Rokita erroneously thinks he has in representing Governor Holcomb, is not outweighed by the importance of promptly resolving a significant constitutional dispute involving the powers of Indiana governors and Indiana legislators,” the governor's brief said. “This case ... will almost certainly end up before the Indiana Supreme Court once it is decided on the merits. When it does, it should land there with a fully developed record that addresses all issues, not in the piecemeal fashion advocated by the Defendants.” 

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