State Senator Art Haywood issued the following statement after the release of a report by the Special Committee on Senate Address:
HARRISBURG, November 25, 2015: “The question before the Special Committee was whether or not an Attorney General can serve in that role with a suspended law license. Today, our committee released a report with findings following evidence and testimony from three hearings. While making no specific finding on direct removal, the committee voted that there is sufficient basis to proceed with a hearing before the full Senate. No determination was made by the committee other than to move to the full Senate for an additional hearing.
I respectfully voted in disagreement with the committee’s finding that an additional hearing before the full Senate is needed. Our committee’s charge was to determine whether or not the Attorney General can serve in her role with a suspended law license. During our committee’s hearings, we learned that, since the suspension of the Attorney General’s law license, duties that require a law license have been delegated to her deputies and that the Attorney General’s office is functioning. The Attorney General is permitted to delegate duties to deputies, and has done so in the past, prior to the suspension of her law license. Further, our committee was presented with no evidence of any violation by the Attorney General.
Based on the evidence before the committee, only one concern remains to be addressed regarding the ability of the Attorney General to serve with a suspended law license. During a hearing, we heard testimony of a possible scenario in which a judge might dismiss a case on the grounds that the Office of the Attorney General lacks authority while the Attorney General’s law license is suspended. Though the Office of the Attorney General is confident in its authority while the Attorney General’s law license is suspended, this must be addressed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. A further hearing before the Senate cannot address this concern, and there is no other concern that remains to be addressed by a hearing before the full Senate. The question before our committee – of whether or not the Attorney General can continue to serve with a suspended law license – can only be resolved by the Supreme Court’s confirmation or rejection of the authority of her office while her law license is suspended.”
An official copy of the senator’s remarks on this matter can be found here:
Contact: Melissa Ostroff