Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden
WOOD – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden released the following statement in response to a complaint from an Idaho advocacy group regarding the defense of the Attorney General’s Office of SB 1309. The “heartbeat” law was passed by the Idaho Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brad Little before being challenged in court by Planned Parenthood.
Idaho Family Policy Center President Blaine Conzatti made what the Attorney General describes as a misrepresentation in a web publishing and an email sent to the organization’s subscribers on Monday. In the email, Conzatti writes that the Idaho Supreme Court suspended enforcement of the new law on April 8 because “the Idaho Attorney General entered into an agreement with Planned Parenthood, in which the Two parties agreed to let the court temporarily block the law in exchange for a slower end to the legal proceedings.
Conzatti has since apologized to the office for the misrepresentation.
“Mr. Conzatti’s apology for his misrepresentation came during a meeting where my attorneys discussed with him his intentions to have his organization join our defense of the bill through of an amicus brief. It was a good faith effort on my part to work with an outside organization that shares a legal interest in this matter similar to that of the state.
“Neither I nor any representative from my office has entered into an agreement with Planned Parenthood. Any suggestion to the contrary is categorically false.
“As Attorney General, my statutorily mandated role as the State’s Chief Legal Officer includes defending state laws when they are challenged in court. As soon as the complaint was filed, my office began a vigorous defense of the new law. This defense continues today.
The bill was signed into law on March 23 and was due to come into force on April 22. Planned Parenthood challenged the legislation in the Idaho Supreme Court on March 30. At the same time, he also filed a motion to expedite the case. The Supreme Court granted Planned Parenthood’s request to expedite the filing of the case less than a day after it was filed. In doing so, the court set a timeline that required the state to file its response to the lawsuit in just two weeks.
In response to the condensed timeline, the Attorney General’s Office filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to reconsider and explain why it was not appropriate to expedite such a complex case with multiple constitutional issues. The state’s arguments included a discussion of other tools available to the courts to address the need for urgency in a case without rushing to judgment which could harm the Attorney General’s ability to defend the law of the state in the future.
In its response to the state’s request for reconsideration, Planned Parenthood misrepresented the fact that the state had suggested the court issue a stay. The misrepresentation was reported in the court order suspending the law.
Planned Parenthood’s misrepresentation and similar language used by the court in its order likely prompted Conzatti’s email. However, after being made aware of the facts of the case, neither he nor his organization corrected the false account.