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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Bill would clarify Conn. AG qualifications

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Apr 6, 2011


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - A public hearing on a bill clarifying the qualifications of those seeking the office of attorney general in Connecticut has been rescheduled for next week.

State lawmakers had planned on holding a hearing on House Bill 6342 on Friday. According to the General Assembly's website, the bill's hearing now will be held Tuesday.

The legislation seeks to amend the state statute so that those individuals running for attorney general be admitted to the state's Bar "for a continuous period of at least 10 years immediately prior to taking office."

Current state law calls for an attorney general candidate to have at least 10 years of active practice of law.

Lawmakers, pointing to the case of former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, want to make the qualifications clearer.

Last May, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Bysiewicz could not run for attorney general because she did not meet the qualifications. The justices ruled unanimously that she did not have 10 years of active practice. She was hoping to replace former attorney general Richard Blumenthal, who ran successfully for the U.S. Senate.

Bysiewicz is an attorney, but served as secretary of state from 1998 until January.

Superior Court Judge Michael Sheldon had ruled Bysiewicz was eligible, but the state Supreme Court overruled him.

Bysiewicz's case wasn't the only recent legal challenge to question the qualifications of an attorney general candidate.

Right before the November general election, Republican Martha Dean, a private practice lawyer running for attorney general, filed a last-minute lawsuit questioning her opponent's litigation experience.

Democrat George Jepsen, who won the office, said in response that his 26 years in practice and experience "in virtually every state court" more than satistifed the requirements for attorney general. He went on to call the move "grandstanding" on Dean's part.

Shortly after Jepsen's win, Dean dropped the lawsuit.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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