Regular readers of this site are familiar with the growing role that conservative state attorneys general have been playing in the battle for limited, constitutional government. They have been relentless and strategic, and more and more people are coming to the realization that they have done more to successfully challenge government overreach in recent history than any other group of public officials.
Politico seems to have noticed as well, and has profiled some of their recent successes:
Conservative states are succeeding in getting friendly federal judges to issue broad—often nationwide—injunctions reining in federal government actions, thwarting key parts of President Barack Obama’s agenda and imperiling some aspects of Hillary Clinton’s platform. The tactic—amplified by the 4-4 deadlock in the Supreme Court—has already frozen Obama’s immigration policy, is limiting his efforts to protect transgender rights and could hamstring Clinton’s planned executive actions on immigration, labor and environmental issues if she wins the White House. . . . [M]any legal experts say that if the high court remains split down the middle on key issues, the more important action will be in the lower courts, where the red-state-led onslaught is playing out.
Interestingly, the liberal activists quoted in the article admit that these conservative AGs are just using procedural strategies the left has been using for decades:
Nonetheless, some liberal legal activists seem reluctant to deplore the conservative states’ tactics. The reason: civil rights and immigrants’ advocates have long visited the courtrooms of federal judges to seek sweeping rulings looking to alter federal policy across the country.
“A single case involving a single judge can issue an injunction against nationwide laws or policies and they have always done that. That’s the way our legal system works,” said Nina Perales of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “It’s almost as if conservatives figured this out after progressives did. . . . It’s really not new.”
None of this is guaranteed to continue. One of the most effective state AGs, West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey, is in an unexpectedly tough reelection campaign against a self-funding liberal. And, looking ahead to 2018, some of the leading conservative AGs will term out or pursue other offices.
So if you appreciate the work of the conservative state AGs, and you wish to see it continued, please learn more about Patrick Morrisey, Josh Hawley in Missouri, John Adams in Virginia, and some of the organizations that support conservative reformers at the state level, like Judicial Crisis Network (my organization), and the State Conservative Reform Action PAC (SCRAP).