Attorney General Hill makes his case before 2016 Indiana Republican Convention delegates before winning that race. (HPI Photo by Mark Curry)
Attorney General Hill makes his case before 2016 Indiana Republican Convention delegates before winning that race. (HPI Photo by Mark Curry)
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Supreme Court denied Gov. Eric Holcomb's request to clarify and intervene in Attorney General Hill's suspension which began today. It means that Hill will be able to return to office on June 17, the day before the Indiana Republican Party's virtual convention.

It will be Hoosier Republican delegates who will decide Hill's immediate political future. He faces a convention challenge from Decatur County Prosecutor Nathan Harter, Zionsville attorney John Westercamp and possibly former congressman Todd Rokita. The party announced that nomination will be decided in a vote-by-mail manner, with results revealed on July 10.

The high court cited three cases, ruling they are "a key component in maintaining the separation of powers under Indiana Constitution." The justices noted that Holcomb sought an opinion on two issues: Whether Hill during his suspension is “duly licensed to practice law” and if Hill is not, whether that creates a vacancy in the office of attorney general under the Indiana Constitution and statute. "These issues were not litigated by the parties and are extraneous to our disciplinary opinion, making intervention inappropriate," the ruling read.

The ruling states that "courts generally should not issue advisory opinions," citing Snyder v. King, in 2011, Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles v. Zimmerman in 1985), and Pence v. State, in 1995. "These principles, too, counsel for judicial restraint and against allowing intervention," the ruling states. "Accordingly, the Court DENIES the 'Emergency Motion to Intervene and Request for Clarification on Attorney Discipline Order.'”

The Supreme Court's Disciplinary Commission handed Hill a 30-day suspension earlier this month after hearing officer Myra Selby ruled that the Republican attorney general had accosted State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon and three legislative staffers at a sine die party in March 2018.

Gov. Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, the four General Assembly caucus leaders and U.S. Sen. Mike Braun subsequently called on Hill to resign, with Holcomb citing "zero tolerance" for sexual harassment and assault"

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