On March 23, 2018, in a 4–3 decision, the Louisiana Supreme Court refused to consider Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’s appeal of the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal’s November 1, 2017, decision holding that Governor Edwards lacked the constitutional authority to issue an executive order protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) state employees from discrimination. More specifically, the Louisiana Supreme Court let stand the First Circuit’s ruling that Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11, which sought to protect the rights of LGBT individuals and other protected classes from discrimination by Louisiana agencies, departments, and contractors was unconstitutional.
We previously reported that Governor Edwards had filed a writ for review to the Louisiana Supreme Court, asking the court to hear arguments challenging the First Circuit’s affirmance of a lower court decision. The Louisiana Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal. The court’s refusal is the final decision on Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11. The order is unconstitutional as a matter of law.
In a written statement, Governor Edwards expressed disappointment after his narrow loss: “I, for one, do not think discrimination of any kind has a place in our society, much less the workplace,” he said. “Unfortunately, this puts us on the wrong side of history.”
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry—Governor Edwards’s opponent in this dispute—heralded the ruling in a written statement: “We commend the Supreme Court on its decision . . . regarding the Governor’s unconstitutional Executive Order, JBE 2016-11. Hopefully, this will end the Governor’s waste of precious taxpayer resources in defense of his unconstitutional actions. The Governor should live within the Constitution; and I will continue to stand for the separation of powers and the rule of law.”
We will continue to report future developments on this issue.