A Good Sign — Colorado Attorney General Democratic Candidate Stan Garnett Loans His Campaign $50,000

It is a good sign because it indicates that Garnett’s fundraising is not going so well.  I assume that any personal loans would be made closer to crunch time unless the campaign were really worried about keeping things on track until then.

I haven’t mentioned the race much yet, but I strongly support John Suthers.  From my limited interactions with him, he seems to be a smart, thoughtful, and genuinely nice guy.  His theory on when the Attorney General should intervene in matters is also spot-on.  Basically, Suthers does not believe the power of the office should be used to compel private actors to do the bidding of the Attorney General, such as Client Number 9, a/k/a Eliot Spitzer ,was famous for doing, which often usurps legislative authority.

Here is an excerpt from an article Suthers wrote with Deputy Attorney General Geoff Blue a couple of years ago:

It is wholly appropriate for attorneys general to weigh in to the legislature or the voters on policy issues related to their statutory or constitutional jurisdiction.  Attorneys general should also propose legislation related to crime, consumer protection, and other matters that are relevant to the work of their offices.

But when it comes to litigation, the only appropriate consideration should be whether the law has been violated and whether there’s sufficient evidence to prove it in court. It is not appropriate for attorneys general to pursue litigation that doesn’t derive from constitutional or statutory authority, but rather represents the attorney general’s personal view of what constitutes the public interest. Some of the litigation that state attorneys general are currently pursuing constitutes a dramatic circumvention of the legislative function in a manner that the governor or other executive officer could never accomplish.

* * *

Commerce in America relies on the predictability that comes with the rule of law. Attorney general activism undermines the rule of law by substituting the attorney generals’ public policy preferences for the public policy set by the legislatures. Such activism can subject defendants to liability for actions they reasonably believed were legal when taken. This result undermines the rule of law, weakens our market system, and is patently unfair. It also removes the policy-making authority from the people and their elected legislatures, who are uniquely structured to balance the competing interests in developing public policy. . . . 

State Attorneys General must Be Mindful of Separation of Powers, Legal Backgrounder, September 19, 2008 (first paragraph break added).

I agree.  Just as courts should not legislate from the bench, the Attorney General’s power should not be used to substitute his or her policy preferences for those set by the legislature.  The Attorney General’s office is a powerful tool that should be used carefully.  John Suthers can be trusted to carefully respect the notion of separation of powers in executing his responsibilities.

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Published in: on August 13, 2010 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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