Arkansas: Document hunt in LGBT case too broad
LITTLE ROCK — Attorneys for Arkansas want a court to cancel subpoenas issued in the battle over a gay rights ordinance in Fayetteville, saying they’re too broad and would “eviscerate” privacy rights granted to legislators and the governor.
The state Supreme Court struck down Fayetteville’s anti-discrimination ordinance in February, saying it violates state law, but justices didn’t rule on whether law is constitutional because the question wasn’t addressed in the lower court.
In the renewed battle over Fayetteville’s ordinance, groups representing the LGBT community have asked the state and bill sponsors Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, and Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville, produce everything they have regarding a state law preventing communities from extending protections not mentioned elsewhere in the state code.
Lawyers for the state said Monday the request is an “unparalleled examination” and the request would require Arkansas to examine millions of pages from 74,000 state employees.
They said letting the requests go through “would substantially alter Arkansas’ carefully crafted system of separation of powers, eviscerate executive privilege, and effectively sweep away the ancient and venerable principle of legislative privilege embodied in the Arkansas constitution.”
In court proceedings, opposing sides share documents in a process known as discovery. Lawyers for the state say they asked the lawyers for the groups representing the LGBT community to narrow their request for documents but were turned down.