As promised Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz formally asked Attorney General Richard Blumenthal Wednesday for his legal opinion about whether she meets the qualifications to run for attorney general.
And as expected Bysiewicz asked in her capacity as Secretary of State.
“My office will carefully review Secretary Bysiewicz’s request, and I will respond as promptly as possible,” Blumenthal said in a statement Wednesday.
Bysiewicz’s qualifications came under fire days after she announced her candidacy for the office.
In her letter Wednesday, Bysiewicz asked specifically for Blumenthal’s guidance in interpreting Section 3-124 of the Connecticut General Statutes, which says, “The Attorney General shall be an elector of this state and an attorney at law of at least ten years’ active practice at the bar of this state.”
Bysiewicz wants to know if that section adopted in 1897 is “constitutional,” since it wasn’t until 1970 that the constitution was amended to make the attorney general one of the state’s constitutional officers.
“The Constitution contains no requirement for the office of the Attorney General,” Bysiewicz writes.
Then in 1980 the constitution was amended again to say “Every elector who has attained the age of eighteen years shall be eligible to any office in the state.”
In light of the constitutional provisions Bysiewicz wondered if the statute that talks about active practice is still in effect “or is it superseded by the subsequent constitutional amendments?”
And when push comes to shove Bysiewicz wants to know who will make the determination of whether the requirement of 10 years of active practice has been satisfied.
Regardless of Blumenthal’s legal opinion, his conclusions can still be challenged in court should anyone wish to pursue that option.
George Jepsen, a Democrat and former lawmaker, who is also running for attorney general said Wednesday afternoon that he has no plan to challenge it in court.
“I’m not hung up on Susan’s technical qualifications,” Jepsen said. “I’m not going to be taking it to court.”
Bysiewicz’s scrambling to put the issue to rest almost immediately after she announced “speaks volumes for real world experience,” Jepsen said. He said he thinks he has three things going for him: his legal experience, commitment to stay in the job for four years, and his decision to use the public campaign finance system.
State Rep. Cam Staples, D-New Haven, who joined a chorus of voices questioning Bysiewicz eligibility to serve as attorney general, also announced his candidacy today.
Republicans who may be seeking a run for attorney general include Rep. Arthur O’Neill of Southbury, Sen. Andrew Roraback of Goshen, and John Pavia of Easton.