ICYMI: With Trump in charge, Republican attorneys general develop plan of attack to reverse Obama-era rules

ICYMI: With Trump in charge, Republican attorneys general develop plan of attack to reverse Obama-era rules

By Ryan Lovelace, Washington Examiner

"While we may be on a different side of the 'V' from time to time, we're still going to be in the middle of all of these fights and in many instances intervening to help federal agencies if they do the right thing." - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

Republican attorneys general are exceedingly optimistic about Donald Trump's presidency, preparing to move ahead on issues important to conservatives, such as getting rid of environmental regulations, fighting labor rules and taking action on immigration.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, head of the Republican Attorneys General Association, said his cadre of attorneys general expect to have an immediate impact through existing litigation, intervention into new matters, weighing in on regulatory developments and handling legal issues in individual states.

"While we may be on a different side of the 'V' from time to time, we're still going to be in the middle of all of these fights and in many instances intervening to help federal agencies if they do the right thing," Morrisey told the Washington Examiner. "I think that the opportunities are endless for us to accomplish many positive things and while we may not be suing as much, while we hope that we won't have to sue as much, we're still going to be in the middle of the fray enough to ensure that enough of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who just got religion on states' rights issues understand that their new theories of law are not going to go uncontested."

Morrisey said he thought the amount of litigation is "likely to remain high" and cited issues still pending before the courts that involve the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the United States rule and other regulations.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Republican efforts to reverse actions taken by the Obama administration might not be as quick as some people might expect and noted immigration and Labor Department disputes as two areas where litigation is underway. He also pointed out that more than a dozen Environmental Protection Agency cases still need to be resolved.

Paxton said he thought the fast-paced war on regulations on full display during Trump's presidency's first months was likely to continue for the first couple of years of his administration.

"These issues can't all be resolved in a month or two months, they're going to take time because you have to go back through the administrative process, which takes time," Paxton said. "They have to issue new rules, they have to go through the notice time for the public to comment, then they have to issue final rules, and so all of that will not be resolved. So our court cases for the most part are still going to go on. Some of it has to be repealed by Congress."

Another factor that could serve to benefit Republican attorneys general in the coming years is the potential installation of Judge Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. While it's difficult to anticipate how Gorsuch may rule in any given case, the attorneys general lauded his nomination and were excited about what it could mean for their litigation. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said she hoped Gorsuch's addition to the high court would lead to new clarification on the death penalty.

Bondi was an early booster of Trump, and her loyalty could be rewarded with a gig at the White House. When asked about the potential of joining the White House, Bondi said, "Today, I'm very happy being attorney general of the state of Florida" with a wink. But Bondi spoke glowingly of Trump's agenda.

"He has stood by everything he's said he was going to do," Bondi said. "And within less than two months, what 48 days right now, in less than two months, he's already done more than presidents have done in a year or more."

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