Top legislative Republicans hire attorney to defend law banning transgender girls from playing girls’ sports

ACLU (modified}

Howard Fischer 

Capitol Media Services  

Top legislative Republicans have hired an out-of-state attorney — at taxpayer expense — to defend a 2022 law that forbids transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports.

In new pleadings filed in federal court, Justin Smith of St. Louis told U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Zipps that Republican Senate President Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, and Republican House Speaker Ben Toma, R-Peoria, have a legal right to intervene in the lawsuit. That, he said, is because state Attorney General Kris Mayes disqualified herself from defending the statute.

Mayes on Tuesday acknowledged bowing out, telling Capitol Media Services that it was clear that her views on defending the lawsuit did not align with those of Tom Horne, the state schools chief who is named as a defendant in the case.

Horne has publicly stated his support for the law. So Mayes instead gave him permission to hire his own attorney.

But Smith told Zipps that Horne has yet to file any legal papers in the case “despite an imminent briefing deadline on plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction.”

“In fact, no other party has filed an entry of appearance to defend the statutes at issue,” he wrote.


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May 2023