Case Details


Control Of Litigation, Status Within State Government

Filing State



U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana




Buquer v. City of Indianapolis, 2013 WL 1332137 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 28, 2013).


State legislators do not have standing to intervene in a case when the attorney general declined to defend a statute that was identical to one struck down by the Supreme Court

Case Description

Plaintiffs had challenged an Indiana immigration statute. After the case was fully briefed by the plaintiffs and the state, the Supreme Court struck down an identical Arizona statute. The attorney general told the court that the would not defend the ruling and would accept the court’s ruling to that effect. Three state legislators sought to intervene to defend the statute. The court held that they did not have standing because their votes for the legislation had not been nullified by an act of the executive, since the legislation had actually been enacted. Rather, they simply disagreed with a litigation strategy chosen by the Attorney General. Nor had they been authorized to act for the legislature in connection with this case. “The Attorney General is charged by law with defending State agencies, officers and employees, and must, of necessity, direct the defense of the lawsuit in order to fulfill his duty to protect the State’s interests.” The court also declined to allow permissive intervention, saying “Allowing the three individual legislators to intervene here in their official capacities as State Senators not only would conflict with this well-settled state law [that outside attorneys may only act as amicus unless the attorney general consents], but would provide the legislators a trump card with respect to the Attorney General’s statutorily derived discretion in this context.”