Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Politics

GOP lawmakers lead lawsuits against Connecticut COVID rules

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, a pair of politically conservative lawyers has become the go-to team for groups seeking to sue Connecticut over the school mask mandate, restrictions on bars and restaurants, and other aspects of the governor’s executive orders.

The two men, Doug Dubitsky and Craig Fishbein, are also Republican members of the state General Assembly.

Dubitsky said in an interview with The Associated Press that he and Fishbein are doing nothing wrong and are taking on cases that other lawyers would avoid because of fears about political repercussions.

“There are tons of attorneys out there, but people are scared. Attorneys are scared. Everybody’s scared to say anything more, to say the wrong thing or to poke their head up lest they be chopped off,” he said. “And there aren’t all that many of us out there who are willing to stand up for what’s right.”

The two men, who’ve argued from the House floor about some of the same issues they’re suing over, have had some mostly procedural and technical victories in the roughly half dozen lawsuits they filed against the state and some municipalities. But ultimately they haven’t overruled the authority of Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, to issue executive orders during a public health emergency.

It’s not unheard of for state legislators to sue their own governor and state agencies over pandemic-related issues. Most cases, however, have not involved legislators who are also private attorneys getting paid by clients to sue the state. A spokesperson for the National Conference of State Legislatures said it can be difficult to track how many legislatures, if any, might consider that to be a conflict of interest.

After a review requested by an attorney for the House Republican caucus, the Connecticut Office of State Ethics issued an informal opinion in July 2020. It found that it is permissible for a legislator, in their capacity as a private attorney, to sue the state, challenging the constitutionality of some of the governor’s executive orders.

 

 

 

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