Idaho's Legal Fund To Be Drained Further After Lost Lawsuit

Oct 6, 2015

Idaho’s Constitutional Defense Council will meet Wednesday. The members will be asked to spend money to pay for a lost legal case. Recent court cases have drained the fund considerably this year.

Idaho will now use the fund to pay for a $70,000 bill for attorney fees and costs in the Madelynn Taylor case. Taylor sued the state for permission to be buried with her late wife in the Idaho Veterans Cemetery. The cemetery refused because of Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage. Gay marriage became legal a year ago and this year Taylor got a permanent injunction barring the state from keeping the couple apart after death.

Wednesday the Governor, Attorney General, Senate President and House Speaker will meet at the Capitol to approve the payment.

In August, three other lost legal cases subtracted nearly $900,000 from the fund. In those, Idaho lost its fight to ban gay marriage, had an abortion law overturned and lost a fight on a no-camping rule in the Occupy Boise case. Earlier this year, the state also paid out $400,000 in its unsuccessful fight against gay marriage.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter has defended the lawsuits, saying in every case, the state was defending statutes or its constitution. Some critics, though, accuse a state government that prides itself on fiscal conservatism of wasting taxpayer money on long-shot legal cases.

Otter has said he will ask the Idaho Legislature to add more money to the fund next year.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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