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Connecticut Supreme Court rules Bysiewicz ineligible to run for AG

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May 20, 2010

HARTFORD, Connecticut: Surprisingly, the Connecticut State Supreme Court, on the exact same day they ordered lawyers for both the State GOP and Secretary of State to present their arguments for and against Susan Bysiewicz's eligibility in the state attorney general race, they announced that they had unanimously reached a decision. The seven justices, "troubled by the minimal standards set by [Superior Court Judge Michael] Sheldon," reversed the decision and declared that Bysiewicz was ineligible to run for the statewide office of attorney general.[1] The Connecticut Secretary of State, who was not present at the hearing, released a statement in which she expresses her disappointment "with the court's decision overturning Judge [Michael] Sheldon's ruling" and that while she strongly disagreed with the "decision both on the eligibility and the constitutionality issue," she does "respect the rule of law and will abide by it."[1] With this in mind, it is expected that Bysiewicz will withdraw her name from the nomination at the state's Democratic convention.

Ever since announcing her candidacy in the race to be the next State Attorney General in January 2010, critics on both sides of the political aisle have argued she lacks the qualifications required for the statewide office.[2] Specifically, they have cited Title III, Chapter 35, Section 3-124 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, which states, "The Attorney General shall be an attorney of law of at least ten years’ active practice at the bar of this state," as proof to substantiate their claims.[3] At the same time, however, others have argued that the state constitution, which takes precedence over the general statutes, cites the minimum age of eighteen as the only requirement in order to be considered for any state governmental position.[4] The suit had been brought before the Hartford Superior Court after the current State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is leaving office to seek the United States Senate being vacated by retiring Democrat Chris Dodd, refused to issue a legal opinion on the matter.[5][6] It is unclear now whether or not Bysiewicz will choose to run again for her current statewide position.

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