Judges promises ‘deliberate speed’ in Bysiewicz case

“All deliberate speed.”

That was the promise Superior Court Judge Michael R. Sheldon made this afternoon about how quickly he will resolve a question over Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz’s qualifications to run for attorney general.

Sheldon is aware that delegates to the Democratic nominating convention will endorse a candidate for attorney general on May 22 and that the primary will be Aug. 10.

The judge today heard a final exchange of legal arguments over one narrow issue: Does the court have jurisdiction to issue a declaratory ruling sought by Bysiewicz?

Eliot Gersten, a lawyer for the intervening Connecticut Republican Party, said Bysiewicz’s fear that she may suffer politically from doubts about her ability to meet the minimum qualifications is not a concern for the court.

Bysiewicz is trying to reassure convention delegates that she meets the statutory requirement of having 10 years of active practice of law in Connecticut.

Without her service as secretary of the state, she falls short. She has asked Sheldon to declare if her time as secretary constituted the practice of law. If not, she is asking that the statutory requirement be declared unconstitutional.

“I want to be attorney general,”  Ginsberg said, mocking Bysiewicz. “And I want an endorsement from the court.”

“Do you think this case is about the endorsement?” Sheldon asked.

“Yes,” Gersten replied.

Gersten called the request for a declaratory ruling premature, saying that Bysiewicz has not been denied access to the ballot.

Sheldon challenged that assertion: If not now, then when? Should the voters run the risk of casting a vote for someone who might be ruled ineligible after the election?

Wesley Horton, Bysiewicz’s lawyer, said that if Bysiewicz won and was ruled ineligible, the governor would fill a vacancy for attorney general. The voters never would get to choose, he said.