The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that Gov. LePage lost the chance to veto dozens of bills. If they were emergency legislation, they are indubitably in effect. If they were not, they will go into effect 90 days after adjournment.
The governor’s claims were always a manifestly weak case and the court could not be clearer that LePage’s novel claims didn’t fit with the Constitution, court cases or past practices.
Last week, in talking about the case on WGAN (at about 10:10 in the podcast), Gov. LePage was asked what he would do if the Supreme Court didn’t answer the questions under the solemn occasion provision of the Maine Constitution.
LePage said of the laws not vetoed, “I’m not going to enforce them.”
“Until they weigh in, and if they don’t take it, then we’re going to sue because I truly believe, I will not enforce them, I believe they are dead.”
However, the Court has declared there was a solemn occasion and they did weigh in.
Based on those statements, the governor should be preparing to enforce the laws he didn’t veto when the Legislature hadn’t adjourned.
A prepared statement from the governor’s office would suggest the same, as it says: “This was not about winning or losing; it was about doing things right.” “We are fortunate to be able to seek legal opinions from the judicial branch, and we’re thankful the Justices came to a fast and fair resolution to this issue.”
If he didn’t carry out the laws, he might hold back funds for General Assistance for asylees and force Maine cities to sue him. His statement last week laying out conditions for not implementing the laws, and the press release, both imply that sort of thing will not develop.
Assuming the governor enforces the laws, he will be now doing things right.
And for that, we should be thankful that the wasteful litigation on this matter has come to an end.
Update: According to BDN reporter Mario Moretto, the governor’s office says it will enforce these laws.