Here is what happened this week for DAGA and our Democratic Attorneys General:
SCOTUS WATCH: As the Supreme Court calendar came to a close this week, rulings on a number of significant cases came down and Justice Kennedy announced his retirement. Here is a quick recap of how Democratic AGs and Democratic AG candidates responded:
• In response to the 5-4 ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31, 20 Democratic AGs led by DAGA co-chairs District of Columbia AG Karl Racine and Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum issued a statement to show support for unions, public employees, and collective bargaining. The response noted that “As the Peoples’ Lawyers, we are committed to ensuring working people can join together to fight for fair and livable wages, workplace safety, pensions, paid sick days, health-care services, and other important protections.” Read the entire statement here. Note: Earlier this year, the New York Attorney General’s Office led an amicus brief in Janus v. AFSCME signed by 21 Democratic AGs urging SCOTUS to follow precedent allowing states to manage labor relations.
• Democratic AG candidates also spoke out to show support for unions and working families.
INSERT PHOTOS FROM AZ & NV
• In response to the Abbott v. Suarez ruling regarding gerrymandering in Texas, Texas candidate Justin Nelson spoke out against the decision, stating that gerrymandering is “not a partisan issue. [It] corrupts our democracy.”
• In the NIFLA v. Becerra case, the Court ruling reversed a lower court decision upholding a California law that required anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to more fully disclose what they are. With this new ruling, fake “crisis pregnancy centers” can continue providing incomplete or deceitful information to vulnerable women regarding their most personal health decisions, under the guise of being a legitimate women’s health facility. California AG Xavier Becerra responded with “[w]hen it comes to making their health decisions, all California women – regardless of their economic background or zip code – deserve access to critical and non-biased information to make their own informed decisions.” Read his full statement here.
• President Trump’s discriminatory Muslim travel ban was upheld in a 5-4 ruling. Former Hawaii AG and now Lt. Gov Doug Chin, who challenged Trump’s revised order on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and illegal under immigration law, said, “I hurt today for Hawaii families and others who have experienced discrimination and scapegoating due to President Trump’s bullying remarks and orders. I am fortified, however, by the spirit of all those who came before us and struggled for the American dream. The path to civil rights does not always come quickly, but I have faith in humanity and believe justice will eventually prevail.” Note: the previous 2 versions of Trump’s bigoted Muslim travel ban were successfully defeated in court.
• The retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy reinforces the importance of the check and balance Democratic AGs play and underscores why the November elections are so vital to protecting our democracy.
KEEP FAMILIES TOGETHER: Following up on intentions announced last week, 18 Democratic AGs sued President Trump and the administration over the inhumane family separation policy. “This case, like all our cases against this Administration, says something important about who we are as a people,” saidWashington AG Bob Ferguson. “We will stand up for the Constitution, basic decency and fundamental American values. Learn more about the lawsuit from the Washington Post here.
FRIDAY BREAKING NEWS: The Iowa Supreme Court decided on Friday that a provision requiring women to wait 72 hours to get an abortion violates the state’s constitution. Reminder: Last month, Iowa AG Tom Miller decided he could not in good conscience defend an Iowa bill that would effectively ban abortion procedures at six weeks, often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant.
EARTH PROTECTORS: On Wednesday, 12 Democratic AGs led by New York AG Barbara Underwood and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against Scott Pruitt and the EPA for illegally seeking to roll back a prohibition on powerful climate change pollutants known as hydrofluorocarbons. In a statement, AG Underwood criticized Pruitt’s EPA and claimed they were attempting to “gut critical climate protection rules through the back door.” Read more from Reuters here.
1881 INITIATIVE MAKING HEADLINES: This week, the American Bar Association Journal wrote a feature on DAGA’s 1881 Initiative to elect more Democratic women to the Office of Attorney General. In the article, DAGA Communications Director Lizzie Ulmer told the Journal that “If Democrats and the Democratic Party are really going to be this force for equality and equal representation, then we need to make sure we’re reflecting that within our own world.” Check out the full article, including quotes from 1881 Initiative co-chairs Massachusetts AG Maura Healey and Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum here.
ELECTIONS UPDATE: 129 days ‘til Election Day 2018!
PRIMARY UPDATES: Congratulations to Maryland AG Brian Frosh, Mark Myles of Oklahoma, and Constance Anastopolou of South Carolina for securing their spots on the ballot in November!
COLORADO UPDATE: The final results of Tuesday’s primary between Phil Weiser and Joe Salazarare yet to be confirmed. The race was close and reaffirms what DAGA knows to be true: there is strong Democratic energy in Colorado.
• Congratulations to Texas candidate Justin Nelson, who received the endorsement of Planned Parenthood!
• Aaron Ford of Nevada received the endorsement of Neena Laxalt, daughter of former NV governor Paul Laxalt, and aunt of current AG and gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt.
• Minnesota candidate Keith Ellison received the endorsement of 34 local leaders from across the state.