The D.C. Attorney General responded to AG candidate Paul Zukerberg’s lawsuit by flatly telling a Superior Court judge in a 265 page opposition to preliminary injunction that “the intent of the voters…is simply not relevant, for a variety of obvious reasons.” (Opp. at p. 16)
As to the language in the 2010 D.C. ballot referendum, which told voters that they would “begin voting for Attorney General in 2014,” the Council’s lawyers claim it is “nonsensical” to rely on the actual words printed on the ballot. (Opp. at p. 16)
Zukerberg, who has qualified for the April 1, 2014 Attorney General primary ballot by submitting the nominating signatures of over 4,800 registered D.C. Democratic voters, asserts in his lawsuit that the Council acted illegally when it passed a law cancelling the 2014 AG election, because the law conflicts with the 2010 D.C. Charter Amendment, which created a new office of Elected Attorney General beginning in 2014.
“I will continue my campaign for D.C. Attorney General, and to fight for the right of all D.C. voters to elect their Attorney General in 2014,” said Zukerberg. “That is what the voters want, and that is what the Charter Amendment requires,” said Zukerberg. “The 76% of D.C. voters who approved the elected AG ballot amendment knew what they were voting for,” said Zukerberg. “The decision of the voters must be respected.” Zukerberg said.
But the Council retorted that the real problem is an outsider candidate who has the “temerity” to “set himself in opposition to the D.C. Council.” (Opp. pp. 36 – 37) “I will fight the Council and anyone else who seeks to deprive D.C. citizens of their right to vote,” said Zukerberg.
Zukerberg is not phased by the personal attacks. “This is a legal dispute as to proper interpretation of our laws, which I have asked an impartial court to resolve,” said Zukerberg. “There is no place in this litigation for personal invective,” Zukerberg said. “The interests of the voters can best be achieved if the parties stick to a dispassionate discussion of the law, and not on the personal views of the lawyers involved,” said Zukerberg.
The case is now pending before the Judge Laura A. Cordero of the District of Columbia Superior Court. Zukerberg has filed a motion for preliminary injunction, to prevent the Board of Elections from removing the office of attorney general from the April 1, 2014 Democratic primary ballot. The Council, represented by the currently appointed attorney general, has filed an opposition to the injunction and motion to dismiss. A hearing date on the cross motions has not been set.
Zukerberg is being represented pro bono by Gary Thompson, a partner in the D.C. office of ReedSmith. A copy of Council’s opposition is attached.
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