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State Lawmakers tap former Delaware Supreme Court Justice for guidance on State Auditor

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

The state Senate changed its mind, and won’t go forward with a plan to ask the Delaware Supreme Court for guidance on removing a public official from office.

State senators were expected to return to Dover Tuesday to continue work to pass a resolution revising one that cleared the House, but plans have changed.

In a recent interview, Senate President Pro Temp Dave Sokola said lawmakers are interested in a specific power called a bill of address that has apparently never been used.

“It’s kind of interesting cause the Delaware Constitution has evolved over time a little bit. That part is pretty much unchanged,” says Sokola.

That provision allows the General Assembly to approve a formal request asking the governor to remove a public official from office.

At issue is State Auditor Kathy McGuiness, whom many legislators believe can no longer hold office while facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.

Instead of passing a resolution back and forth between chambers, lawmakers agreed to a different path.

House and Senate leadership, along with members of both Judiciary committees, will meet to develop recommendations on how to proceed.

Most importantly, they recruited former Delaware Supreme Court judge Randy Holland, the longest serving judge on the state’s highest court and an expert in state constitutional law.

In a statement, House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf says: “No one knows more about the Delaware Constitution and its interpretation than Justice Holland”

The group will come up with findings before January 11th, the first day of the legislative session.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

The headline of this story has been update to reflect the decision to go forward with this plan was developed as a joint effort with the House and Senate.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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