Mark Eves at his desk in the state house, photo by Ramona du Houx
Here is the public statement of the attorney for Speaker Mark Eves, David Webbert, about the brief filed by the Governor last evening in Speaker Eves’s federal civil rights lawsuit:
“The Governor’s brief doubles down on the false and dangerous view that the Governor is above the law and that there are no limits on what he can do to punish his political opponents.
"The Governor claims, yet again, that he can require every private organization in Maine that receives state funding to hire only members of his political party for all leadership positions.
"The Governor’s extreme views are without historical or legal precedent and are contrary to clearly established federal constitutional rights. The Governor wants a one-party government for Maine, without the checks and balances that get in his way, but that is not what our Maine Constitution and our federal Constitution say.
"The Governor’s latest brief pleads for the federal court to let him out of the case based on a laundry list of immunities. His lead argument is that he is 'protected by absolute immunity' because what he did was 'a protected legislative act.'
"The Governor frequently insults the constitutional powers of Maine’s Legislature Branch, but in federal court he is glad to claim for himself absolute legislative immunity. Last month the Governor told the public that 'he can't wait' to get sworn testimony in this case. The Governor should be true to his word and not hide behind an immunity shield. The Governor can and should make the right choice and defend his actions in open court to a jury of Maine citizens.”