Justices accepting briefs in AG’s bid to stop Holcomb’s lawsuit against General Assembly

The Indiana Supreme Court is calling for briefs in the attorney general’s bid to stop proceedings in the governor’s lawsuit against the Indiana General Assembly.

The high court is accepting briefs until noon on Friday on AG Todd Rokita’s petition for an emergency writ of mandamus and prohibition, and until Aug. 6 on his petition for a permanent writ. The court is also considering whether to hold oral arguments.

Rokita on Monday filed his petitions, asking the justices to order Marion Superior Court 12 to stop proceedings in Holcomb v. Bray, 49D12-2104-PL-14068. GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb filed a complaint against the General Assembly after lawmakers overrode his veto of House Enrolled Act 1123, which allows the Legislature to call itself into special session.

Holcomb argues that only he can call a special session under the Indiana Constitution. But fellow Republican Rokita says Holcomb cannot proceed with his lawsuit without the AG’s consent, which was not given.

Rokita asked Marion Superior Judge Patrick Dietrick to strike the appearance of outside counsel from Lewis Wagner LLP on Holcomb’s behalf, but the judge denied his motion. The AG then asked the trial court to certify the case for interlocutory appeal and for a stay, but those motions were also denied. 

Rokita said Monday that the constitutional issues raised in the governor’s lawsuit fall into the “narrow” category of cases that may be filed directly with the Supreme Court. He has amended his representation in the case to include only the General Assembly, House Speaker Todd Huston, Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray and the Legislative Council, but not the governor.

The high court set the briefing schedule in a Tuesday order. The case at the Supreme Court is State of Indiana ex rel. The Indiana General Assembly, et al. v. Marion Superior Court 12, et al., 21S-OR-354.

Holcomb’s office declined to comment on Rokita’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

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