Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said today that he’ll confer with the other members of the state’s Constitutional Defense Council – the speaker of the House, president pro-tem of the Senate, and Attorney General – before calling a meeting of the council to pay a new $401,663 judgment for attorney fees in Idaho’s thus-far unsuccessful bid to defend its ban on same-sex marriage. But Otter said he’s glad the Legislature last year, at his urging, deposited another $1 million in the fund, giving it a balance that can easily cover the payment with plenty left over.
“I always anticipated that we would try to keep a million dollars in that fund, so it would suggest to those who want to bring a constitutional question to us that we’d be prepared at a moment’s notice to take it on,” Otter said today. In 2012, the balance in the fund was down to just a bit over $300,000; lawmakers that year put in another half-million. This year’s million-dollar addition brought the fund up to nearly $1.7 million, well in excess of the current bill, which started accruing interest on Friday.
Here are the past expenditures Idaho’s Constitutional Defense Council has made from the state’s Constitutional Defense Fund – all for attorney fees:
- $190,547 to Elam & Burke in 1995-96 for attorney fees in case involving nuclear waste shipments to Idaho National Laboratory
- $47,606 for attorney fees awarded in the Idaho Coalition United for Bears v. Cenarrussa case, regarding ballot initiatives, in 2004
- $380,526 for attorney fees awarded to Planned Parenthood in 2006 for case involving anti-abortion legislation that was found unconstitutional
- $66,000 for attorney fees awarded to Planned Parenthood in 2008 for another case involving anti-abortion legislation that was found unconstitutional
- $75,000 for attorney fees awarded to the Pocatello Education Association in 2009 for a case involving unconstitutional legislation related to donations to unions
- $54,350 for attorney fees awarded in Daien v. Ysursa in 2011, a case involving ballot access for independent presidential candidates
Lawmakers have deposited $2.5 million in the fund since its inception in 1995.