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Every once in a while, a court gets it right. And in Louisiana, there was no better time for that than now, when a dangerous lawsuit threatened the rule of law.
Like a lot of liberals, Governor Bel Edwards (D) thinks religious convictions should be surrendered in order to contract with the government. Last year the legislature refused to go along with his policy of forcing any entity contracting with the state to agree to special privileges for people who identify as LGBT — including genderless bathrooms and showers. Governor Edwards then took matters into his own hands issuing an executive order to accomplish the Left’s objective of crushing religious freedom.
It’s state Attorney General Jeff Landry’s (R) job to ensure that Louisiana is abiding by the Constitution. This overreach, he knew, did not. When government contracts started streaming through his office for approval, he refused to sign them. Angry that Landry wouldn’t rubber-stamp his lawlessness, Governor Edwards sued him. After two rulings went against him, Edwards gambled it all on an appeal to the state Supreme Court. And last week, he lost.
“That’s the problem right now in this country,” Attorney General Landry told me last year on “Washington Watch.” “No one wants to respect the rule of law and the process. Everyone wants to circumvent or short-cut it. And in Louisiana, we’re just not going to allow that.” The justices agreed, taking issue with the way Edwards bypassed the legislature to impose his personal liberal agenda on the state. Still, the governor defended his actions, insisting, “I, for one, do not think discrimination of any kind has a place in our society, much less the workplace. More importantly, Louisiana’s diversity is what makes it the greatest state in the union. Unfortunately, this puts us on the wrong side of history.”
First of all, blocking people with religious convictions from government contracts is what’s discriminatory — not his politically correct notion of “tolerance.” Secondly, if Governor Edwards wants to change the law, then take the issue to legislators. Don’t make a unilateral decision to do their jobs for them. If the public agrees with his misguided ideas on discrimination, prove it. Pass a law. Don’t do through the governor’s office what you can’t do democratically — and shouldn’t do, constitutionally.
General Landry, for one, is happy to move on. He hopes the court’s decision “will end the governor’s waste of precious taxpayer resources in defense of his unconstitutional actions. The governor should live within the Constitution; and I will continue to stand for the separation of powers and the rule of law.”
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.