Attorney General Eric Holder has instructed the state's attorneys general that they do not have to enforce laws they do not like.
I guess it is a work-around for all those red state legislatures that want to keep on discriminating against whoever isn't straight and white.
AG Holder's idea is not a good long term thing.
We have a split country right now where the equal protection clause is at risk. Each attorney general is sworn to uphold the laws in their state, but before that they are sworn to uphold the federal Constitution.
Part of our split country right now may be illustrated in states with a red legislature and an elected blue attorney general. The blue AG has no doubt that the discriminatory laws are unconstitutional. But it is not his job to make that call.
As a lawyer, the AG is bound to represent his client (the state as a whole) in the judicial branch. The AG is not bound to represent the legislature. There is a reason we have three branches of government. The courts are supposed to decide when a law is bad.
When Eric Holder tells his crew not to go to court, he is killing the checks and balances. When the red legislature passes a bad law the blue executive HAS to challenge it. This is exactly why checks and balances were created.
On a personal level, the AG does not have to defend a law they feel is wrong. The moment anyone goes into court and takes the stand they are compelled to tell the truth. As an officer of the court, the AG cannot in good conscience walk into a courtroom and defend what they see as an unconstitutional law. If an AG defends a law they feel is unconstitutional, they are the ones committing the ethical violation. Forcing people to do the wrong thing is exactly why there is no confidence in government from the general populace.
Knock the law down the proper way, bring the case before the court. The judge has to have the say as to whether it passes muster. The AG's job, as an elected official from another branch of government, is not to parrot what a legislature says. The AG's job is to present the law to the judge with all its flaws and ask for relief from enforcing it.
Is doing this torpedoing the legislature's work in crafting a bad law? You betcha it is. If the legislature wants to weigh in on defending their unconstitutional handiwork they can show up and make their pleas to the judge.
Judges are supposed to be smart enough to handle the squabbling between the two branches of government. Eric Holder needs to let judges do their jobs. That means using the state's AG's to fight bad laws in court.
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