BREAKING: Maine Supreme Court Rules Against LePage in Veto Spat
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court just hit Governor Paul LePage with a supreme legal smackdown.
In a ruling released by the Court today, 65 bills passed by the legislature have become law without the Governor’s signature after he failed to act on them in the time required by the Maine Constitution.
During this last legislative session, LePage threatened to veto every single bill sponsored by a Democrat as political payback for the refusal of the House and Senate to go along with his political agenda.
On July 16, LePage attempted to veto 65 bills that the legislature had passed, but both Democratic Speaker of the House Mark Eves and Republican President of the Senate Michael Thibodeau rejected the returned bills, ruling them out of order and already enacted into law. Both Eves and Thibodeau said that the Governor missed the deadline to veto them.
Here in Maine, the constitution allows the Governor 10 days, excluding Sundays, to either sign or veto bills that have been passed by the legislature. If the Governor does not act on bills during that time, they become law without his signature.
There is a provision that allows the Governor to hold bills for a longer period – if and only if the legislature has adjourned and is no longer in session. Both Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate disagreed with the Governor, and argued last week in court that the legislature had not in fact adjourned.
Today, the court agreed with the bipartisan group of lawmakers, and rejected the Governor’s attempt to claim more executive authority.
All 65 bills are now officially law.
Since his reelection in 2014, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for LePage. He’s currently being sued in federal court by the Speaker of the Maine House Mark Eves for blackmail after the governor threatened to withhold funds from a school for disadvantaged children unless they fired Eves.