Tag Archives: nomination

Questions for New Hampshire’s Next Attorney General

In May of this year, Joe Foster’s term as Attorney General will end and Governor Chris Sununu will be able to nominate a successor.  Here are some questions that Sununu should ask anyone he is considering.

1.  Beginning no later than Phil McLaughlin, who was appointed Attorney General in 1997 by then Governor and now United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Attorney Generals in New Hampshire have claimed the power to not defend legislation that they deem unconstitutional.  A recent example is Joe Foster refusing to defend an education funding law.   Do you believe the Attorney General has such a power?

The correct answer is “no.”  The executive branch has a constitutional duty to assure “the faithful execution of the laws” (part II, article 41), which includes defending all laws challenged in court.  If the Attorney General had such a power, he or she could refuse to defend laws that the Governor deemed constitutional which would mean the Governor would not be the “supreme executive magistrate” (part II, article 41).  If the Attorney General had such a power, he would be able to exercise a litigation-veto over laws passed by the Legislature, which would give the Attorney General law-making powers contrary to part II, article 44.

2.  Attorney Generals have also claimed the power to decide to bring or join lawsuits on behalf of the State of New Hampshire, even where the Governor does not support the lawsuit.  A recent example is Foster’s announcement that he is going to join a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s Executive Order pausing entry into the United States by nationals of seven countries.  Do you believe the Attorney General has such a power?

The correct answer is “no.”   The power to decide whether to bring or join a lawsuit on behalf of the State of New Hampshire, even where the Governor does not support the lawsuit, would be contrary to part II, article 41 which makes the  Governor the State’s “supreme executive magistrate.”  Such a power also would allow the Attorney General to decline to bring or join a lawsuit when directed to by the Governor, which also would be contrary to part II, article 41.  Such a power would allow the Attorney General to set policy which may be appropriate in some States that elect Attorney Generals, but is not appropriate for New Hampshire’s appointed Attorney General.

3.  If called upon to testify before a legislative committee regarding an education funding issue, would you advise the committee that the Legislature must strictly comply with the Supreme Court’s Claremont/Londonderry decisions or would you take the position that the Claremont/Londonderry decisions were erroneous interpretations of the State Constitution and that you would vigorously defend education laws, including asking the court to overrule all or part Claremont/Londonderry if necessary?

The correct answer is “the latter.”  The Claremont/Londonderry decisions do not reflect the original understanding of part II, article 83 and are a clear violation of the separation of powers.  The Legislature can and should pass whatever laws it determines constitute appropriate education policy, as long as those laws do not conflict with the actual constitution.

Another Democrat Super-PAC Joins Attack on GOP for not Confirming Hassan Judicial Nominee

Yesterday I posted about New Hampshire Public Radio’s reporting on the Executive Council’s refusal to confirm one of six nominees Governor and-United-States-Senate-candidiate Maggie Hassan to the New Hampshire Superior Court:

What seems to be NHPR’s real concern is that the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative investigating reporting website, influenced the vote by reporting that the nominee had represented child rapists: Continue reading Another Democrat Super-PAC Joins Attack on GOP for not Confirming Hassan Judicial Nominee

Democrat Super-PAC Attacks GOP for Not Confirming Hassan Judicial Nominee

New Hampshire Public Radio is reporting that the New Hampshire’s “Legal Community” is “concerned” about the Executive Council rejecting one of Governor Hassan’s recent nominees to the Superior Court.

The “legal community” mentioned in the article consists of the Chief of the Manchester Police and the President of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  That’s akin to CNN reporting, based on interviewing only nine people in Detroit, that Ben Carson’s claims in Gifted Hands were unable to be verified.

What seems to be NHPR’s real concern is that the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative investigating reporting website, influenced the vote by reporting that the nominee had represented child rapists: Continue reading Democrat Super-PAC Attacks GOP for Not Confirming Hassan Judicial Nominee

Is Only Way for GOP Establishment to Stop Donald Trump to Get Behind Ben Carson?

CBS is out with some new polls.  And it’s getting uglier and uglier and uglier for the GOP establishment.

In Iowa, Donald Trump and Ben Carson are locked in a two-person race.  In the latest poll, they take 54 percent of the vote between them.  The next closest candidate is Ted Cruz, who is hardly an establishment man, with 10 percent:

RCP.Prez.Avg.IA.13SEP15

New Hampshire, the most establishment friendly of the three early States, is just as bad for the establishment.  Trump is way out in front with 40 percent in the most recent poll.  Carson is second with 12 percent.  Add in Carly Fiorina’s eight percent, and the three outsiders take 60 percent of the vote. Continue reading Is Only Way for GOP Establishment to Stop Donald Trump to Get Behind Ben Carson?