Corporate executive Jim Lamon’s campaign for U.S. Senate received endorsements last week from the National Border Patrol Council and the Arizona Police Association, shocking many in the Republican Party who assumed Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was a shoo-in for the groups’ backing.
Lamon, the founder of Fortune 550 utility company DEPCOM Power, is among four prime candidates seeking the Republican nomination on Aug. 2, 2022 –and with it the chance to unseat Sen. Mark Kelly. The others are Brnovich, recently retired Arizona Adjutant General Michael “Mick” McGuire, and political newcomer Blake Masters, who serves as president of the Thiel Foundation.
There were also endorsements announced last week in the Arizona gubernatorial race, where businessman Steven Gaynor, former state lawmaker Matt Salmon, Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson, and current State Treasurer Kimberly Yee are hoping Republican voters will start to look past the local celebrity status of television news personality Kari Lake, the current front runner.
The endorsements came in the form of former governors Jan Brewer and Fife Symington joining Taylor Robson as co-chairs of her campaign. Their support comes after Taylor Robson and Yee spent the summer taking turns announcing various municipal and county endorsements.
Meanwhile, Rep. Aaron Lieberman (LD28) and former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez Jr. are hoping to show the name recognition enjoyed by current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs does not mean she is the best candidate to represent the Democratic Party in the race for governor.
The multi-candidate race to the Republican nomination for Arizona Secretary of State saw its biggest news to date when former President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Mark Finchem (LD11) last week. Finchem’s most noted primary opponents are Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (LD23) and Rep. Shawnna Bolick (LD20).
Trump’s endorsement of Finchem overshadowed the fact Rep. Reginald Bolding (LD27) snagged the endorsements last week of two prominent Democratic state lawmakers in his race against former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes for that party’s nomination for Secretary of State.
Those endorsements, from Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios and Senate Minority Whip Martin Quezada, came as Senate President Karen Fann announced the audit report is expected to be released shortly into how well Maricopa County -especially Fontes’ office- complied with election laws and state election rules during the 2020 General Election.
The Republican primary for State Treasurer got less bloated this month when Rep. Regina Cobb (LD5) bowed out just weeks after announcing her candidacy. Cobb will be taking an executive position with the Arizona Dental Association, leaving Sen. David Livingston (LD22) and Rep. Jeff Weninger (LD17) to duke it out.
On the Democrat side, Sen. Martin Quezada (LD29) is expected to easily win his party’s nomination in the primary.
There have not been any major changes in the race for Arizona Attorney General, where former Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould is in a close race for the Republican nomination against former federal prosecutor Lacy Cooper and UA College of Law alumna Tiffany Shedd in the primary.
And the fight for the Democratic Party nomination remains between Rep. Diego Rodriguez (LD27), former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes, and 2020 Legal Aid Attorney of the Year January Contreras. One Libertarian, Phoenix-based attorney Michael Kielsky, is also running for attorney general.
It felt like we were heading this direction for quite some time. Well, here we are. Last week, President Biden made an outrageous announcement. Any employer that has 100 or more employees will be required to mandate vaccines. Not only is this a blatant abuse of power, but it ignores the fact that issues like this are supposed to be left to states.
And Arizona’s lawmakers, who were elected by the people, did address this back in July, taking keep steps to protect our state from more COVID overreach. In particular, the state legislature passed SB1819, which includes a provision that amends the ability of the state to require vaccination during a public health emergency to allow for an individual to refuse vaccination based on their personal beliefs.
And it also wasn’t that long ago when then-Senator Kamala Harris said she would not take the vaccine if President Trump mandated it. This administration can’t even get its own talking points straight. Or maybe that’s just something else they don’t care about.
But there is something they do want: to take away more of your freedoms. That’s why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club jumped into action immediately. For the past week, we’ve been urging Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to sue the Biden administration. This vaccine mandate will affect more than 100 million Americans. And it is one of the most extreme infringements on both businesses and individual rights in U.S. history…
Efforts by the Biden Administration to coerce Arizonans to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination or risk losing their jobs is “one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberties, principles of federalism, and separation of powers ever attempted by any administration in the history of our Republic,” according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
“Under our Constitution, the President is not a king who can exercise this sort of unbridled power unilaterally,” Brnovich argues in the lawsuit, adding that “even George III wouldn’t have dreamed that he could enact such sweeping policies by royal decree alone.”
Over the last few weeks, President Joe Biden has pushed for more Americans to be vaccinated, including tens of thousands of Arizonans who work for the federal government, private contractors doing business with the U.S., healthcare workers whose employers received Medicare or Medicare payments, and those working for companies with at least 100 employees.
Among those the mandate would apply to are nearly 300,000 employees of the federally-funded Head Start program. The lawsuit does not address Biden’s recent announcement that all military personnel, including reserves, must be vaccinated.
Employees who refuse to be vaccinated under various Presidential executive orders or OSHA rules will be forced to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, or face termination.
Brnovich’s lawsuit seeks ruling that Biden and the other federal defendants do not have authority to impose the vaccination mandate on U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. It also seeks a declaratory judgment finding such policies and mandates unconstitutional.
Another prong of Brnovich’s lawsuit takes aim at the fact U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and even lawfully present aliens face the prospect of much harsher public health mandates and punishment than hundreds of thousands of unauthorized aliens present in the country. As a result, Brnovich is asking for a court order enjoining the President and other federal officials from engaging in unconstitutional discrimination.
Brnovich’s lawsuit was not the only major COVID-19 vaccination development to occur Tuesday.
A federal judge in New York issued an emergency injunction on Tuesday against the State of New York’s requirement that all healthcare workers provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The order by U.S. District Judge David Hurd temporarily suspends a mandate put forth last month by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo which applied to all hospitals and congregate care facilities such as nursing homes.
Cuomo’s mandate did not protect employees who hold sincere religious beliefs against receiving the vaccine, and Gov. Kathy Hochul did not amend the mandate when she was recently sworn in.
The New York Department of Health is now prohibited from initiating “any action, disciplinary or otherwise” which would impact the licensure, certification, residency, admitting privileges, or other professional status or qualification of any healthcare worker who objected to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination due to a religious exemption.
Additional legal proceedings could lead to all or part of the New York mandate being permanently enjoined.
Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an advisory to all immigrants who apply for a Green Card on or after Oct. 1 that they must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to ensure their application is not rejected.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services advisory pertains to all applicants seeking permanent residency, who must undergo an immigration medical examination to show the applicant is “free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds.”
Under the new policy, applicants will not be able to receive the immigration medical examination without first providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
For the second time this year, Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt have authored a “friend-of-the-court” brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a challenge to the constitutionally of a New York state law which severely restricts who can obtain a concealed carry permit.
On Tuesday, Brnovich, Schmitt, and the attorneys general of 24 other states joined in urging the justices to declare New York’s subjective-issue firearm license process as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The case is New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett.
Forty-two states, including Arizona, have objective-issue systems where a concealed carry permit is issued to an individual who meets a certain set of objective criteria such as a background check, a mental health records review, fingerprinting, knowledge of applicable laws, and firearms training.
However, New Yorkers who want a concealed carry permit must demonstrate to a state worker some type of “special need” for self-protection outside their home that is greater than the average citizen. In effect, the law serves as a de facto ban on most New Yorkers who want to exercise their right to protect themselves when away from home.
The 26 signors of the brief believe they have “a unique perspective that should aid the Court in weighing the value and importance of the rights implicated by the questions presented.” In particular, they cite empirical evidence that legal concealed carry holders are significantly less likely than the general public to commit a crime.
In addition, a 2013 National Research Council study is cited, showing that crime victims who resist with a gun are less likely to suffer serious injury than victims who resist in other ways or who offer no resistance at all.
“Those who obtain firearms-carry permits are, and remain, overwhelmingly more law-abiding than the general population. That conclusion makes perfect sense, as permit holders must typically pass background and other checks prior to being issued a license under state regimes,” the brief argues.
Brnovich issued a statement after the brief was filed Tuesday.
“Law-abiding citizens should not require the consent of faceless bureaucrats to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. New York cannot override the Second Amendment or the natural right of self-preservation,” Brnovich said, adding he will continue to vigorously protect the constitutional rights of all Americans.
According to the attorney general’s office, Arizona implemented a licensed concealed carry regime in 1994. That year, the state experienced 10.5 murders per 100,000 people compared to the nationwide rate of 9 murders per 100,000.
Then in 2010, Arizona implemented a right-to-carry for all law-abiding citizens, even without a license. By 2016, Arizona’s murder rate was 5.5 per 100,000, even though more guns were being lawfully carried in the state.
Joining Arizona and Missouri are the state attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The July 20 brief follows one filed in February in which the 26 attorneys general argued why the U.S. Supreme Court should take up the case. The Justices announced in April that they will take up the case in its next term which starts Oct. 4, 2021.
The New York case, however, is not the only Second Amendment challenge Brnovich’s office has been involved with this year.
In April, he co-authored an amicus brief signed by nearly the attorneys general from nearly two dozen states urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the Second Amendment by declaring California’s law limiting magazine capacities as unconstitutional.
Then in May, Brnovich led another multi-state coalition in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a New Jersey law which limits magazine capacities and requires gun owners to surrender to law enforcement certain magazines which are legal in 43 other states.
And last month, Brnovich led a coalition of 22 states in writing a brief to the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in an effort to strike down a three-decade-old California law that bans popular rifles, even when kept in the home for self-defense.
On Monday, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich advised U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland that the Biden administration’s Department of Justice had no right to interfere with the audit of the Maricopa County 2020 General Election.
Brnovich accused Garland of giving in to the “hysterical” audit opposition.
“My office is not amused by the DOJ’s posturing and will not tolerate any effort to undermine or interfere with our State Senate’s audit to reassure Arizonans of the accuracy of our elections,” wrote Brnovich to Garland.
“My office looks for ways to work alongside the federal government to uphold our laws within the constraints of the 10th Amendment and the election provisions in Articles I and II.” Brnovich concluded, “As I have demonstrated several times, however, Arizona will not sit back and let the Biden administration abuse its authority, refused to uphold laws, or attempt to commandeer our state’s sovereignty.”
Garland has attacked the audit ordered by the Arizona State Senate. “Many of the justifications proffered in support of these post-election audits and restrictions on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” Garland said last week.