By Daniel Stefanski |
Arizonans used to a proactive Attorney General defending the state’s laws have had to readjust their expectations due to the political transfer of power in January.
During the first two years of the Biden Administration, Arizona was at the forefront of many of the political and legal battles sweeping the nation, in large part due to then-Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s defense of federalism and state laws. The Brnovich-led Arizona Attorney General’s Office took a leading and proactive role in dozens of lawsuits to push back against the federal government’s overreach and to enforce the laws the state legislature passed.
This changed once the new Attorney General Kris Mayes assumed the reins of the state’s top law enforcement agency. Mayes, a Democrat, has quickly abandoned some of the lawsuits initiated or joined by her predecessor or her office has slowed action on other cases.
The abrupt change in litigation policy from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has forced the Republican-led Arizona Legislature into a central role when it comes to defending the Grand Canyon State’s laws and values. Both the State Senate and House have worked in tandem to assume the guardianship of key cases that have lost adequate representation since January.
On Thursday, the Arizona House of Representatives Majority Communications issued a release to update the public on “successful intervention(s) in cases to defend state laws and fight against federal overreach.” The announcement highlighted that “Members of the Arizona House of Representatives of the 56th Legislature have been in office less than four months but have already achieved major court victories, under Speaker Toma’s leadership and united with the State Senate.”
The House Majority celebrated four victories: Mi Familia Vota v. Fontes et al. – an Election Integrity case; 56th Legislature et al. v. Biden et al. – an intervention to protect “Arizona’s Sovereign Authority Against Federal Overreach”; Kentch et al. v. Mayes – an Election Contest case; Isaacson v. Mayes – a “Defense of Law Protecting Unborn Children with Disabilities.”
For the benefit of readers, the press release provided detailed commentary on each of the cases to allow for a greater understanding and appreciation of the Legislature’s efforts:
Mi Familia Vota v. Fontes et al.: “On April 26,a federal court granted Speaker Toma’s and President Petersen’s motion to intervene to defend Arizona laws that require proof of citizenship and proof of residence in the state when registering to vote and require the county recorder to review the voter rolls. When Speaker Toma and President Petersen realized the state’s interests would not be adequately protected in this case, they immediately sought intervention.”
56th Legislature et al. v. Biden et al.: “On April 25, the Legislature and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce filed an emergency application with the United States Supreme Court challenging President Biden’s executive order that unconstitutionally infringes on Arizonans’ medical freedoms by forcing federal contractors to receive the experimental COVID-19 vaccine or risk losing their jobs. The Legislature successfully intervened in the 9th Circuit after Arizona Attorney General Mayes stated she would not fully defend the injunction of Biden’s vaccine mandate that her predecessor secured to protect all Arizonans.”
Kentch et al. v. Mayes: “On April 11, the Mohave County Superior Court granted Speaker Toma’s and President Petersen’s motion to submit an amicus brief. This brief encourages the court to fully consider Abe Hamadeh’s motion for new trial, scheduled for oral argument on May 16, consistent with Arizona laws governing election contests.”
Isaacson v. Mayes: “On March 8, a federal court granted Speaker Toma’s and President Petersen’s motion to intervene to defend a law that prohibits abortions based solely on a child’s genetic abnormality after Arizona Attorney General Mayes stated she would not defend the law.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.