GOP AGs: Obama administration has overstepped its bounds

Jessica M. Karmasek Mar. 5, 2012, 12:40pm




WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Nine Republican state attorneys general joined forces Monday, identifying more than 21 "illegal" actions by President Barack Obama's administration.

The attorneys general, calling themselves the "last line of defense against an increasingly overreaching federal government," spoke at a Republican Attorneys General Association-sponsored event at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington. The group is holding its winter national meeting this week.

The nine attorneys general include Tom Horne of Arizona, Pam Bondi of Florida, Sam Olens of Georgia, Bill Schuette of Michigan, Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma, Marty Jackley of South Dakota, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Greg Abbott of Texas and Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia.

"One of the ways in which attorneys general protect the integrity of state laws and constitutions is by carefully reviewing the actions of the federal government and responding when they break the law or overstep the bounds of the Constitution," they wrote in a memo, also released Monday.

The attorneys general noted that while each of them has disagreements with the Obama administration, those disagreements -- especially those political in nature -- are not the basis of their report.

"The purpose of this report is to outline actions taken by this administration that are violations of law," they said.

The most obvious example is Obama's federal health care law, they said.

However, the nine attorneys general have identified more than 20 other "illegal" actions by the president and his administration.

In Oklahoma, for example, the EPA is trying to usurp the State's authority to determine its own plan for addressing sources of emissions by imposing a federal implementation plan.

Pruitt, who is representing the State in the matter, argues the federal plan goes beyond the authority granted to the EPA in the Clean Air Act and will result in a $2 billion cost to install technology needed to complete the EPA plan and a permanent increase of 15 to 20 percent in the cost of electricity.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel threatened to sue the State for guaranteeing a secret ballot in union elections -- despite 83 percent of the state's citizens voting for such an amendment.

When South Carolina was joined by three other states in mounting a defense, the board backed down but turned their attention to Boeing, a private company and corporate citizen of South Carolina, telling the employer where it could or could not locate facilities.

The NLRB eventually backed down in their complaint against Boeing, but only after the company and the union worked through an agreement.

"Whether it is through the EPA, NLRB, Office of Surface Mining, FCC or other entities, the Obama administration has aggressively used administrative agencies to implement policy objectives that cannot gain congressional approval and are outside of the law," the attorneys general said.

For a complete list of the administration's alleged violations, click here.

The group of nine attorneys general said Monday it will continue to serve as a de facto task force, assisting when possible to defend state laws and identifying "best practices" and legal arguments to fight back against the Obama administration's "illegalities."

The group, pointing to the November election, said it also will make a "concerted effort" to educate their states' voters on the impacts that the administration's violations have on their every day lives.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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