I saw an article today that touted that the national partisan politics has not found a home in Louisiana yet, but a trio of other stories seems to tell a different story. I’ve talked before about how politicians today seem to always be in election mode, well today’s example is Louisiana’s new Attorney General, Jeff Landry.
The first story I saw today is that our Attorney General issued a legal opinion that essentially states that the recent executive order issued by Governor John Bel Edwards extending protections to Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender people, or LGBT as it is commonly referred. To be blunt, this new order only added Transgender persons to executive orders that had already been issued by former governors.
Governor Edwards of course says that the Attorney General is overstepping his authority. The attorney general has tried to exert authority over illegal immigration, public education standards, and his offices own finances, to name a few. This has lead to speculation that the new AG has aspirations of occupying the Governor’s Mansion, to which he has replied, and I quote “I think anyone who has aspirations to take the governor’s job has to have their head examined.” End quote.
Later in the day, another press report was released that announced Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry had joined Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, plus Arizona’s Department of Education and Maine’s governor to file a federal lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s directive that schools must allow transgender students to us the bathroom of the sex they identify with instead of their biological sex.
Amid a national debate on transgender rights, President Barack Obama’s administration on May 13 told U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice, upsetting Republicans and paving the way for fights over federal funding and legal authority.
Mr. Landry has encouraged school systems to ignore the federal directive, stating that he will defend them if they are prosecuted.
The states’ lawsuit accused the federal government of overstepping its constitutional powers by taking actions that should be left to Congress or individual states. It also challenged the Obama administration’s interpretation of federal civil rights law with regard to sex and gender.
I can understand why Louisiana would be want to participate in this lawsuit. With that said, my first thought when I was reading this story was I can’t believe John Bel Edwards went along with this. It would seem like a 180 turn against the stance he took when he signed the executive order about LGBT protections. His stances since taking office would lend credence that he would not go against the Obama Administration.
Well, a story by New Orleans Times Picayune reporter Julia O’Donoghue on NOLA.com this afternoon gave a valid explanation of this contradiction. It seems that Mr. Landry decided to join the suit and did not consult the governor beforehand. According to Ms. O’Donoghue’s story the governor did not know about the suit until he saw news reports today saying Louisiana had joined the other states in filing it. While some would say the governor has no reason to be informed of the attorney general’s decision, you would think it would be common courtesy to inform the chief executive of our state at least a few minutes before making national news.
In my opinion this is nothing but political maneuvering by everyone involved. While Mr. Landry may not want to be governor officially, he is the republican holding the highest elected office in the state that has good standing in the state GOP party. He is being coaxed into butting heads with the governor by the state GOP because they are under the impression that the more they can embarrass or trip up the governor, the better it is for republicans. You would think that the election of Governor Edwards, and the current unprecedented success of Donald Trump nationally would be a wake-up call that this type of bull is not working anymore.
Now Governor Edwards isn’t completely innocent here either. This executive order goes against the grain of the majority of the people of this state. That is not a guess, that is a fact. Our governor is also guilty of listening to the leaders in the state democratic party, that are convincing him to slide in one little piece of liberal policy after the other instead of becoming the consensus builder he was elected to become.
My problem with joining the federal suit is the same as the issue I have with building a new stadium for The Saints. We can’t pay for the stuff we need to fit the needs of the people of our state already, but we’re going to join a suit that will cost us at minimum hundreds of thousands of dollars for a court fight for a directive that most legal experts say cannot be defended in court if the feds attempt to withhold funding.
It upsets me to see the games being played by our elected officials while we have so many areas that need serious, bipartisan solutions. The issues being used as political footballs affect way too many people to use in this way. Every politician in Louisiana needs to wake up, see what is happening to people that play these political game across the country, and figure out how to work together to solve our state’s problems now.