By SABRINA CANFIELD
NEW ORLEANS (CN) – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who garnered much attention recently for attempting to override Gov. John Bel Edward’s protections against workplace discrimination, has been elected as vice president of the National Association of Attorneys General.
“I am grateful for the trust and confidence placed in me by my fellow attorneys general,” Landry said in a prepared statement released Wednesday. “Being chosen by my peers from across the country is a tremendous honor and a testament to the great work being done at our Louisiana Department of Justice.”
The association was created in 1907, and provides “training, research, and analysis to attorneys general and their staff on how to run successful and efficient offices,” a news release from Landry’s office said.
The attorney general predicted his election to his new post, “will be a tremendous asset for the people of Louisiana.”
“We now have an even bigger platform to fulfill our mission of fighting federal overreach, supporting economic liberty, and making our communities safer,” Landry said.
Landry’s election comes at a time when he and Edwards, both of whom came into office were elected in January, are at odds over several issues.
Most notably, Landry objects to Edwards’ executive order that bans discrimination against state workers on the basis of their sexual preference or identity.
Landry has refused to sign off on state contracts with private law firms that require them to promise not to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers.
Following Landry’s lead, the legislature recently refused a health insurance contract for thousands of employees because it included LGBT anti-discrimination provisions.
The issue of whether Landry can reject Edward’s LGBT protections is scheduled to go before a judge in Baton Rouge next Tuesday.
In the meantime, Landry has tried to make his case clear that it is not about the LGBT issue exactly, but over whether he or Edwards has more authority to decide.
Previous Louisiana governors have provided substantially similar executive orders that went into effect without any such challenge.
In an editorial in the Advocate newspaper last week, Landry said it and other “mainstream media” have confused his position on LGBT and transgender bathrooms.
“The Advocate, in its quest to satiate what little liberal intelligentsia still exists in Louisiana, chooses to ignore the facts,” Landry wrote.
He went on to say he ran for attorney general “to protect our families, our freedoms, and the rule of law.”
“One of the most basic, practical lessons learned in the first week of high school civics class is the supremacy of the Constitution,” Landry wrote in the editorial. “This is not a complicated algorithm no matter how hard the editorial board tries to opine.”
Landry’s letter continued: “The Advocate, and the greater Louisiana mainstream media, keep confusing a constitutional argument with the governor’s policy position to advance transgender bathroom mandates and other matters that have not been adopted by our Legislature.”
“Although I oppose the governor’s position,” Landry wrote, “our case is not about that policy. The issue before the court is whether a governor may ignore the will of the Legislature and other constitutionally protected elected officials.”
Phone calls to the National Association of Attorneys General and the Louisiana Attorney General’s office for more information on the election and for comment were not immediately returned Wednesday.