AUGUSTA, Maine — Attorney General Janet Mills has asked a Maine Superior Court judge to dismiss Gov. Paul LePage’s lawsuit against her on the grounds that he seeks to interrupt the balance of power between the branches of government.

An argument filed Wednesday on behalf of Mills by Maine Assistant Attorney General Thomas Knowlton asserts that despite her refusal to represent the LePage administration in various legal matters, she has done nothing to block him from pursuing those matters on his own.

“The governor’s complaint seeks an advisory opinion on a political question, requesting relief that would usurp the authority of the Legislature and interfere with the delicate checks and balances enshrined in the Separation of Powers provision of the Maine Constitution,” reads the conclusion of Mills’ brief.

LePage filed suit against Mills earlier this month, alleging that she abused her authority and played the partisan by refusing to represent the executive branch in court on matters including LePage’s desire to be a part of President Donald Trump’s efforts to ban entrance into the U.S. for people from certain Muslim-majority countries. Mills authorized the LePage administration’s hiring of outside counsel in that case and others.

LePage argues that the attorney general is bound to represent him by the Maine Constitution; Mills has countered that the Maine Law Court has ruled that the attorney general has “authority and discretion” over whether to represent the governor.

Mills’ motion to have the case dismissed represents a predictable step forward in virtually any civil lawsuit. There will be more written filings before the case ever comes to a hearing.

Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.