The Louisiana state supreme court has announced that it will not hear arguments about an executive order issued by Governor John Bel Edwards to protect LGBTQ state employees from discrimination in 2016. State Attorney General Jeff Landry took the Governor to court to ensure LGBTQ people were still vulnerable.
Landry, a far right Republican, and Edwards, a moderate Democrat, have feuded constantly since they took office. Landry has refused to sign dozens of state contracts that included clauses banning discrimination against LGBTQ people and other minority groups.
Edwards went to the mat on this issue, saying it was important to be proactive. Since the state legislature is dominated by Republicans, he knew a comprehensive civil rights law wasn’t coming anytime soon, so he did what he could to protect state workers as the head of the executive branch.
Landry sued, claiming Edwards was creating a new civil rights law with the order. Governors across the country have issued similar orders without creating legal quandaries.
A lower court agreed with Landry, saying the Governor overstepped his authority. Edwards appealed to the state supreme court, but they announced this week that in a 4-3 decision, they won’t hear the case and will let the lower court ruling stand.
“I, for one, do not think discrimination of any kind has a place in our society, much less the workplace,” Edwards told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Unfortunately, this puts us on the wrong side of history.”
Chief Justice Bernette Johnson was one of those who wanted to hear the case. In a strongly worded dissent, she wrote, “The Governor’s anti-discrimination policy is not some novel exercise of executive power in a domain exclusively reserved for the Legislature.”
“Few would seriously argue that a government institution violates our Constitution by adopting internal policies that prevent discrimination against minority groups.”
Unless, of course, you’re a far right Republican who loves Jeebus so much you’re willing to discriminate in his name apparently.
Landry is expected to challenge Edwards in the next gubernatorial race.