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WASHINGTON (AP/WUSA9) - The District of Columbia's highest court has ruled that the city must elect an attorney general as soon as practically possible.

Wednesday's ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals invalidates a law passed by the D.C. Council last year that postponed the city's first election for attorney general until 2018. The position is currently a mayoral appointment. City voters approved a 2010 ballot measure that called for residents to elect their top attorney starting this year.

A lower court sided with the council in a lawsuit challenging the postponement, but a three-judge Court of Appeals panel reversed that decision and said the election should be held this year or as soon as possible in 2015.

The Attorney General's office says it plans to appeal to the full court.

In a statement, D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan said, "We are studying the Court's Order and awaiting its opinion. We continue to believe that the Council of the District of Columbia had the authority to interpret the 2010 Charter Amendment to authorize a statute scheduling the Attorney General election to be in 2018, and we will be drafting a petition to the full en banc court of the D.C. Court of Appeals on that key point. We will also be working with the Board of Elections and the Council to develop a full explanation of the practical and legal issues associated with rushing to hold the Attorney General election in 2014, which we will present in any further Superior Court proceedings following the Court of Appeals' final decision."

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