Louisiana Gov asks court to define state attorney general's role

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is in a dispute with the state's Attorney General over LGBTQ protections. AP Photo, Gerald Herbert.

Baton Rouge, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking a Baton Rouge court to define the role of Louisiana's attorney general — laying out what he can and can't do in state government.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/2fNmhz9 ) the Edwards administration's request comes in response to Attorney General Jeff Landry's decision to sue the governor.

Landry is trying to block Edwards' executive order that bans discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in state government. The governor and attorney general have a Wednesday court appearance on the issue.

In filings made ahead of that appearance, Edwards is asking the court to declare that the governor is the "superior constitutional officer" to the attorney general and that "the position of the Governor prevails" when the two elected officials come into conflict over legal issues.

Landry has blocked dozens of state agencies, boards and commissions from hiring private lawyers for state government work because the private lawyers have agreed not to discriminate against LGBT people. Landry objects to the legal contracts including nondiscrimination clauses required by the governor.

But Edwards is asking the court to rule on a matter that goes beyond the validity of the LGBT executive order. The governor's team wants the court to determine the limits of Landry's power over state government in general.

Landry wouldn't, for example, be able to block Edwards' from hiring lawyers to work on suing oil and gas companies for coastal damage if the governor gets his way in this case.

"The court should issue a judgment declaring that the governor is the superior constitutional officer to the attorney general and that, in the event of a dispute with the attorney general relating to any matter involving the state or state entities, the position of the governor should prevail," writes Matthew Block, the governor's executive counsel, in a filing to the court.

Edwards used a similar legal argument in a court case with Landry involving the LGBT executive order last month. Landry prevailed in that case, though on a technicality. The governor's team says its chances of winning will be better in this new case.

Landry's office declined to comment.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Gayly – November 13, 2016 @ 7 a.m.