There is an interesting ruling out of Connecticut where the Supreme Court has issued a rare ruling barring a candidate from running for Attorney General of the state. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz will be taken off the ballot because she lacks the minimum ten years of legal experience under state law.
The Connecticut Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Bysiewicz’s service as Secretary of State does not count as legal experience. This would appear to hand the nomination to George Jepsen, her opponent, just days before the state convention.
The Supreme Court overturned the ruling of Superior Court Judge Michael R. Sheldon, who felt that work as Secretary of State should count.
Notably, Bysiewicz also challenged the 10-year requirement as unconstitutional, which (not surprisingly) failed. This is akin to suing herself as Secretary of State.
Bysiewicz appears to be far less creative in claiming past experience than her predecessor Richard Blumenthal.
She is a graduate of Yale College and Duke University School of Law. She served as the State Representative from 1992 to 1998.
Frankly, while I do not believe the requirement is unconstitutional, I am sympathetic to her claim. It is hard to define what constitutes legal experience. Many lawyers use their degrees as part of their work in business or government. It seems to me that such questions should be left to the voters and the campaign to hash out.
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Kudos: ABA Journal.