Supreme Court Says Bysiewicz Not Qualified To Be AG

Just days before the state Democratic party’s nominating convention, the Connecticut Supreme Court unanimously ruled this afternoon that Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz does not meet the legal qualifications to serve as attorney general. WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.

After more than an hour of legal argument over just what it means to have 10 years of active legal practice, Justice Flemming Norcott surprised everyone.  Click here to listen.  Click below to read more.

“We all know there is a certain sensitivity to time in this case, and in that regard I would ask counsel to just remain in the courtroom until further notice through the clerks.”

And then, about an hour later, he surprised everyone again when he came out with a ruling.

“The court has concluded that, 1), the trial court correctly determined that the plaintiff has standing and the issues before the court were ripe for adjudication.  Two.  The trial court improperly determined that the plaintiff satisfied the requirements…”

The court’s decision was unanimous.  In an emailed statement, Bysiewicz said she was disappointed by the ruling, but that she would abide by it.  Her attorney, Daniel Krisch, said that she had few legal options left.

“We could file a motion for reconsideration, but it’s a seven to nothing decision…”

This effectively ends the legal saga over whether Bysiewicz has the required 10 years of active legal practice to serve as the state’s attorney general.  It’s been an issue that has hounded her since she announced her candidacy earlier this year.  The court’s decision reverses an earlier lower court decision that ruled in her favor.

Krisch, her attorney, told the court Tuesday that it should use the broadest definition of the law to include as many candidates in the electoral process as possible.  But Eliot Gersten, a lawyer for the state Republicans that have battled Bysiewicz, told the court that such an interpretation made the law meaningless.  In the end, the court apparently agreed with Gersten.

“I think my client is going to be pleased that the court system worked the way it’s supposed to work…This proved that we were right in questioning her qualifications.”

The court said it will issue a written ruling but it has not yet done so.

For WNPR, I’m Jeff Cohen.

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