NewsCovering Louisiana


State supreme court refuses ruling on COVID issue; sends case back

Louisiana Supreme Court.jpg
Posted at 3:22 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 19:59:58-05

The Louisiana Supreme Court has refused to consider an appeal of a lower court's ruling on the legislature's attempts to stop the governor's COVID orders until the correct procedure is followed.

In November, a state district court judge ruled the legislators' efforts were unconstitutional, allowing the governor's orders in a declared health emergency to stand. The losers appealed to the state Supreme Court.

In the ruling released by the court today, SCOLA states that the lower court made a mistake in finding the legislators' efforts unconstitutional without first determining if those efforts complied with state law.

"While we acknowledge this case presents some novel issues which are important to the citizens of our state, we find it is unwise to depart from this bedrock principle of orderly statutory interpretation. Rather, it is critical a case must reach this court in the proper procedural posture to warrant our review of a ruling on constitutionality," the ruling states.

The Supreme Court vacated the lower ruling and sent the case back to the district level, instructing that court to determine first if the legislature's actions comply with state law and then ruling on constitutional issues.

"The case is remanded to the district court, which is instructed to rule upon all non-constitutional arguments, reaching the constititional challenge only if such a challenge is essential to resolution of the case," the ruling states.

The ruling is silent on the issues involved; it speaks only to the procedure followed. It does note that the lower court proceeded directly to the constitutional challenge because the parties involved stipulated, or agreed, that this was the process they wanted.

Our media partners at The Advocate posted a story that includes some details about the original hearing held back in November. If you'd like to read it, click here.

If you'd like to read the opinion for yourself, find it here.