Republican Martha Dean says the recent state Supreme Court decision detailing Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz’s lack of qualifications for attorney general may also apply to her Democratic opponent, George Jepsen.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Hartford Superior Court, Dean argues that Jepsen repeatedly says he’s not a litigator, and five Supreme Court Justices argued in the majority opinion released last week that the legislature intended the attorney general to have at least some litigation experience.
“The phrase ‘attorney at law of at least ten years’ active practice at the bar of this state” means an attorney with at least some experience litigating cases in court,” Justice Flemming L. Norcott Jr. wrote. “Although the presumption of eligibility might require this court to conclude that an attorney who has not practiced exclusively or even primarily as a litigator for at least ten years is qualified to hold the office of attorney general . . . the presumption does not authorize us to ignore the clear intent of the legislature that the attorney general must have some measure of experience in trying cases.”
“Since Mr. Jepsen has publicly admitted multiple times that he is ‘not a litigator,’ he should immediately provide appropriate proof to the court and to the voters of Connecticut that he meets the legal qualifications for the office of Attorney General,” Dean said Tuesday.
Jepsen called the lawsuit “frivolous.”
“I have the legal experience in and out of court to satisfy any interpretation of the court’s standard. I am and have been a practicing attorney for 26 years. I have made my living from private practice. I have represented clients in courts in this state, from probate courts up to the Connecticut Supreme Court,” Jepsen said.
“Martha Dean says she is not a politician and is running to stop the practice of frivolous lawsuits. Frankly, I have yet to see a lawsuit more political or frivolous than this one,” he said.
Jepsen has been of counsel at Cowdery, Ecker & Murphy, since 2003 as part of the firm’s broad-based civil litigation practice. Before that he worked at Shipman and Goodwin.
A judge will hear arguments on the temporary injunction on Thursday.
Dean’s lawsuit was filed by Hartford attorney Wesley Horton, who was also Bysiewicz’s attorney in her legal challenge of the qualifications necessary to run for attorney general.