"Defense of legislative lawsuits. Provides that, if: (1) the constitutionality or enforcement of a state statute is being challenged; and (2) a member of the general assembly who is the first author of a bill finds that the statute is not being adequately defended; the first author has standing to intervene as a party in the action. Permits the second author to intervene if the first author is no longer a member of the general assembly, and permits the speaker of the house of representatives or the president pro tempore of the senate to appoint a member to substitute for the member who intervened if that person ceases to be a member of the general assembly. Provides that a member with standing to intervene may employ an attorney to represent the member, requires the member to seek an attorney who will represent the member on a pro bono basis, and specifies that if the member is unable to obtain a qualified attorney to represent the member on a pro bono basis, the attorney general shall pay the reasonable costs and fees related to the representation. Requires the attorney general to forward a notice relating to a challenge of the constitutionality of a statute to the legislative council and first author of the bill enacting or amending the statute."
Sen. Mike Delph
|Sen. Phil Boots|
|Sen. Brent Steele|
It is easy to get distracted by the underlying immigration issue and miss the bigger issue involved, an issue that extends far beyond this particular case. Attorney General Zoeller has consistently taken the position that the Attorney General position is "unique" because of the need to "harmonize the law" among the several agencies and entities. In doing so, he has claimed he has absolute authority when it comes to deciding how legal issues involving the State of Indiana are handled. Thus, it doesn't matter if a state agency wants to settle a case, or whether the Governor wants to take a certain legal position or the General Assembly wants a law defended, the Attorney General, and only the Attorney General, gets to decide, on behalf of the State, what position will be taken. This is a position that essentially makes the Attorney General not only the attorney for the State of Indiana, but also the client.
Zoeller's position regarding the authority of the Attorney General is certainly not shared by everyone. In addition to the State Senators in this case, most of the attorneys I've talked to do not agree that the Attorney General has an unfettered right to decide the State of Indiana's legal position. Rather they see the Attorney General as the attorney for the State of Indiana with a duty to follow his state client's wishes as long as they are within the ethical boundaries of legal representation. As far as multiple state agencies creating a mishmash of legal approaches, there is a singular boss of those agencies, the Governor of the State of Indiana. The AG could always appeal to the Governor to bring a consistent approach to how the agencies approach litigation.
|Attorney General Greg Zoeller|
1) Review and monitor legislation, regulations, administrative actions, and other activities of the federal government that may affect Indiana.
(2) Take any action the attorney general finds necessary and appropriate to respond to, address, or influence any proposal, enactment, promulgation, action, order, adjudication, or activity described in subdivision (1).