Circuit judge declines to dismiss lawsuit targeting Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Circuit judge declines to dismiss lawsuit targeting Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announces her office’s lawsuit against Walgreens for their part in the opioid crisis in Arkansas during a press conference on Monday, March 15, 2021. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford) An abuse-of-power lawsuit against Republican gubernatorial contender Attorney General Leslie Rutledge survived a second attempt to kill it on Tuesday with a judge’s ruling rejecting arguments that the case should be thrown out of court. State lawyers have already promised to appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court any ruling by Pulaski Circuit Judge Chip Welch that does not recognize that the attorney general is immune from suit, absent proof of illegal activity. They describe the litigation as a baseless stunt mounted by Rutledge’s political opponents, stating that the courts do not have the authority to dictate to the attorney general — no matter who holds the position — how the office should operate. The only ones with the authority to curb the attorney general’s power are the voters, who decide who holds office, or the General Assembly, which delegates authority to the office holder, the state’s attorneys contend. “The opinion issued by the trial court fails to appropriately consider the actual legal responsibilities Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has to educate and advocate on behalf of Arkansas consumers,” Stephanie Sharp, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, said in an emailed statement. “The Attorney General plans to immediately appeal this erroneous decision.” The group sued in February claiming that Rutledge has no legal justification, only her political ambitions, […]

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