Idaho Treasurer Julie Ellsworth Weighs Supreme Court Appeal Over Office Lawsuit

Jan 24, 2020

A judge has once again denied the Idaho state Treasurer’s request to dismiss a lawsuit against her, as state lawmakers try to take over her office space at the capitol building.

In December, Judge Nancy Baskin first rejected Treasurer Julie Ellsworth’s (R) motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Idaho legislative leaders.

At the time, the judge said that House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) and Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill (R-Rexburg) didn’t need approval from the entire legislature to file the suit. Ellsworth appealed that decision, which was denied Wednesday.

Lawmakers are trying to kick Ellsworth out of her office at the capitol and convert it for their own use, though they have offered to let her stay in part of it, along with some of her staff.

No ruling has been made on the actual merits of the case so far.

Lawmakers gave themselves control over most of the floors of the building in 2007, including where Ellsworth’s office is located. Former Gov. Butch Otter (R) let the bill become law without his signature at the time.

Her lawyer, former Attorney General David Leroy, argues the Idaho Constitution lets her establish her office anywhere within Ada County, though he admitted that the state’s founding document didn’t specifically outline that it had to be at the capitol.

At a hearing in December, lawyers for Ellsworth raised the possibility of appealing the issue to the Idaho Supreme Court, according to the Idaho Press. But Judge Baskin this week said doing so wouldn’t help wrap up the lawsuit any quicker.

Leroy disagrees, saying she will likely file such an appeal immediately.

In a statement, Bedke said he hopes Ellsworth “starts following state law and stops wasting everyone’s time and energy.”

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