A dispute between Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) and state legislators over his veto power will have its day in court later this month, with the state Supreme Court announcing it will be hearing oral arguments on the matter.
Responding to Friday’s request from LePage for its opinion, the state Supreme Court opted to fast-track the measure, The Portland Press Herald reported Monday. The court is asking for an initial round of briefs by this Friday, according to an order posted Monday afternoon, and has scheduled oral arguments for July 31.
The stand-off started earlier this month when LePage failed to act on 19 bills within the 10 days lawmakers said he had to veto them. LePage argued that legislators had taken the type of formal break, known as an adjournment sine die, that allowed him to wait for them to reconvene before returning the vetoed bills for their consideration. Lawmakers say when they had left the state capital in late June, it was an informal recess and since they had plans to return last week, LePage ran out of time. Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, agreed with them in an opinion issued at the request of Republican and Democratic lawmakers
LePage, refusing to concede to their interpretation of Maine’s constitution, sat on another 50 or so bills. When lawmakers reconvened last Thursday, he attempted to return the legislation, 65 bills in all, only to be refused by the leaders of the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate who said the bills had become law.