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Karl A. Racine
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

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Court Upholds Council's Authority to Postpone DC Attorney General Election Until 2018

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ted Gest, Public Information Officer
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – D.C. Superior Court Judge Laura A. Cordero has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the validity of a statute passed by the Council that scheduled the District’s first election for Attorney General for 2018.

The plaintiff, Paul Zukerberg, is a self-declared candidate for Attorney General.  He contends that because a 2010 referendum amending the D.C. Charter stated that the first election for the position “shall be after January 1, 2014,” the election must be held this year.  In 2013, the D.C. Council approved a bill providing that the election will not be held before 2018.  The Council did so after District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan issued an opinion advising that the Council had the legal authority to do, consistent with the Charter.  Judge Cordero’s opinion granting the District’s motion to dismiss agreed, ruling that under the “plain and ordinary meaning” of the Charter referendum, the 2018 date set by the Council is not inconsistent with the referendum.

Attorney General Nathan commented, “We appreciate the detailed and thoughtful analysis reflected in Judge Cordero’s opinion.  Mr. Zukerberg now has had an opportunity to challenge the validity of this statute in both Superior Court and on an expedited basis in the Court of Appeals.  If this latest ruling by the Superior Court rejecting that challenge is appealed, we will continue to defend the Council’s action vigorously.”

For their handling of the case in Superior Court, he commended Assistant Attorneys General Matthew Blecher and Keith Parsons, working under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Ellen Efros of the Public Interest Division and Grace Graham, chief of the division’s Equity Section.