October 13, 2019

October 11, 2019

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Louisiana Governor Appeals LGBT Executive Order Ruling to State Supreme Court

On December 1, 2017, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) appealed a state appellate court decision holding that Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11, which seeks to protect the rights of lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender individuals, and other protected classes from discrimination by Louisiana agencies, departments and contractors was unconstitutional.

We previously reported that months after Governor Edwards signed JBE 2016 – 11, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and others challenged the order in a lawsuit filed in East Baton Rouge Parish that sought a permanent injunction, as well as a declaratory judgment that the executive order violated state law.

In December of 2016, the district court enjoined the executive order and declared it illegal as a matter of law, holding that the executive order “is a violation of the Louisiana Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine and an unlawful usurp of the constitutional authority vested only in the legislative branch of government.”

Governor Edwards appealed the December 14, 2016, order. Attorney General Landry opposed it and filed his own cross-appeal. On November 1, 2017, the Louisiana Court of Appeal, First Circuit, affirmed the district court’s finding that the order was unconstitutional, stating that the Court “agree[s] with the district court that the Governor’s Executive Order constituted an unconstitutional interference with the authority vested solely in the legislative branch of [Louisiana] state government by expanding the protections that currently exist in anti-discrimination laws rather than directing faithful execution of the existing anti-discrimination laws of this state.”

Governor Edwards has now appealed this ruling to the Louisiana Supreme Court for review. The governor’s appeal filing states his core argument:

“JBE 16-11 is simply a policy directive concerning state employment in the executive branch and the contractual provisions of state service. . . . It does not have the effect or force of law. It establishes a principle significant to Governor Edwards—that discrimination is not a Louisiana value—through a valid mechanism for issuing executive branch directives.”

The Louisiana Supreme Court will next decide whether to hear arguments on the governor’s appeal.

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About this Author

Andrew P. Burnside, Ogletree Deakins, Employment Law Matters Lawyer, Trade Secrets Attorney
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Drew Burnside represents employers in federal and state courts, as well as federal and state administrative agencies, in employment law matters. Drew is admitted in Louisiana and Texas.

Drew has received an “AV” Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell and was on the editorial board of Tulane Maritime Law Journal at Tulane University. He is a chapter editor of and contributing author to The Family and Medical Leave Act treatise, published by BNA. Drew also was contributing author to The Developing Labor Law (3rd ed. BNA).

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Hal D. Ungar, Ogletree Deakins, personal injury attorney, insurance law
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Hal D. Ungar brings eight years of practical experience to his diverse practice, which includes the fields of labor and employment, construction, admiralty, personal injury and insurance law. His vast litigation experience includes employment and labor matters, construction related disputes involving breach of contract and other contractor related issues, class action defense, MDL, and personal injury.

Mr. Ungar has previously served as lead counsel on numerous labor and employment, construction/contractor, admiralty and personal injury matters at the partner level. He has also served as second chair/assistant lead trial attorney, in the formal trial setting, on a variety of civil litigation matters including labor and employment cases (judicial and agency), Hurricane Katrina insurance claims, toxic tort, general personal injury, and workers’ compensation.

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