Sunday, April 20, 2014
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The court did not answer any of the questions, ruling that they did not represent "a matter of live gravity or unusual exigency."
Further, the court ruled that the request from the House did not provide evidence of constitutional violations, although a brief filed by Democrats made the argument that Poliquin's appearance before the Phippsburg Planning Board was a violation.
Attorney General Schneider and the Maine Heritage Policy Center filed briefs to argue that no solemn occasion existed.
Legislative orders seeking help from the supreme judicial court are unusual, but not unprecedented. In 2004, the Legislature asked and received guidance from the court when it had questions about a citizen-initiated bill that sought to ask voters to approve a Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
That involved a bill before lawmakers, but the issue this time did not, said House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakland.
"The court does not see this issue as a solemn occasion, because it doesn't impact any pending legislation," Nutting said in a prepared statement. "I am glad that this matter has been put to rest."
Dion said he and other Democrats will continue discussing whether they can take any other steps involving Poliquin. In his mind, the questions remain unresolved.
"The current lack of an answer leaves us in the same place where we began," he said.
State House Writer Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at email@example.com