Comments about ‘Letter: Defend the law’

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Published: Sunday, March 9 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Karen R.
Houston, TX

"How well are societies served by individuals who pick and choose which laws really should count and which ones should not count?"

Isn't it religion that does this? And aren't we now in the midst of debating how well our society has been served by certain religion-based laws cherry-picked from religious books?

Kudos to the Attorneys General that are saving the citizens of their states the expense of defending laws that they understand are unconstitutional. I would bet that those who are not doing this are motivated by their own personal beliefs rather than an objective analysis of the law. IMO this is a violation of religious liberty (and their civic duty). Those who are so blinded by their religious/personal beliefs that they can't objectively apply the law need to step down or be replaced. They're actually a threat to the 1st Amendment, not a protector of it.

American Fork, UT

I kind of like it when the attorney general chooses to defend our constitutional rights against the wishes of a majority group.

Murray, UT

Great point! I will add that if we allow our leaders to not defend or enforce our laws, we are destroying our own legal and constitutional protections.

We might as well get rid of Congresses and just have kings.

(For those of you who want this to happen, I just want to be clear that changing to a king would be a bad thing, even if you love King Obama.)

Danny Chipman
Lehi, UT

Great letter. The executive branch and those attorneys general are all failing in their responsibilities. If they don't like a law, tough. Go about changing it the legal and established way, in the proper order--through the courts (we're already seeing this happen) and legislatures.

Virginia Beach, VA

There's nothing new about the Chief Executive picking the Laws he wants to enforce.

The GW Bush administration completely ignored enforcing many regulations (since regulations are antithetical to Right Wing Dogma), especially those that dealt with Wall Street financial shenanigans.

At least Obama is choosing to enforce the laws we really need to have enforced.

salt lake city, utah

"(For those of you who want this to happen, I just want to be clear that changing to a king would be a bad thing, even if you love King Obama.)"

Any wonder why no sane person takes this stuff seriously.

Ogden, UT

Hopythetical: Utah amends its constitution to re-institute segregation based on race. That is a clearly unconstitutional amendment pursuant to the US Constitution. Would you require Utah's Attorney General to defend that amendment?

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Karen R." and "Furry1993" I think that you are missing the point.

The fact is that the oaths that our elected officials take binds them to uphold and defend the laws. Why are we not demanding that they uphold the laws?

Imagine there was a person caught with blood all overthemselves, knife in hand, and a dead body. They admit that they comitted the murder. The law requires that they be defended by a competent lawyer. Would you prefer that we just throw them in jail or get Lionel Hutz or another incompetent lawyer to defend them?

That is what is occuring with defending state laws infront of the SCOUS. We give guilty criminals better defenses than we do to laws that were legally passed.

Now, before you comment, think about this. You have said that the elected officials should choose what laws to defend. If that is so, would you want a President to defend a law that essentially did away with the "general welfare" clause?

If we apply it to the things you don't like equally to the things that you like, are you ok with that?

Ogden, UT

@RedShirt 2:09 p.m. March 10, 2014

That would be clearly unconstitutional . . just like the example of a law I used in my hypothetical was clearly unconstitutional. At what point to you think clearly unconstitutional laws must be defended?

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Furry1993" don't be dumb. My question to you was simple.

If you don't want money wasted defending laws that you don't like, would you also want the government to save money by NOT defending laws that you do like?

Karen R.
Houston, TX

"The fact is that the oaths that our elected officials take binds them to uphold and defend the laws. Why are we not demanding that they uphold the laws?"

The Constitution is the law too. The supreme law, in fact. If a law can't pass that bar, what is there to uphold?

Did you know that the Utah AG knew in 2004 that Amendment 3 could be unconstitutional? This language apparently appeared on the ballot: An analysis concluded that "Amendment Number 3...does not eliminate potential conflict with the United States Constitution. One potential conflict is with the Equal Protection Clause."

The AG knew 10 years ago. He and other AGs know now. Why are they not standing up to defend the Constitution? The reason appears to be that they are putting their personal religious beliefs before their duty to uphold the law. Now THAT is an abomination.

Sandy, UT

Karen R.
No, the President "shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed". He can not pick and choose laws or which parts of the laws he wants to enforce. He simple needs to make sure they are executed.

what comes to mind is his administration of ObamaCare.

The US AG is the chief law enforcement officer responsible for investigating and prosecuting federal crimes committed against and for the United States government.

He does not have the right to say which laws he will or will not enforce. He has to enforce ALL laws. He also can not VIOLATE the law (fast and furious for example).

As for the Utah Constitution Issue, He doesn't have the right to say he will enforce the marriages; he should have waited until the court makes their finding public. I think that is why our State AG took his stance, "before messing a bigger mess that this already is, let's wait until the court gives their findings". This is a sound solution to the issue, because if Judge Shelby had issued the stay like most of them do, the in questioned marriages would not be an issue today.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@ Confused

Then I pose Furry1993's hypothetical to you as well:

"Utah amends its constitution to re-institute segregation based on race. That is a clearly unconstitutional amendment pursuant to the US Constitution. Would you require Utah's Attorney General to defend that amendment?"

AG's - state or federal - are not intended to be mindless enforcers of laws. They're supposed to use their brains too.

And if you intended to imply that Utah's AG took his stance because of AG Holder's pronouncement, your chronology is wrong.

Martin Blank
Salt Lake City, UT

I have a somewhat idle question: I wonder how many commenting here against prosecutorial discretion (claiming that an attorney general MUST enforce ALL laws) also commented about "piling on" in the case of the husband of the BASE jumper who died? If the law's the law and AGs should always and forever enforce all laws, wouldn't that mean that we should still be prosecuting that young man for his illegal acts?
Or is this all just one more instance of beating up on the present administration because they do things we don't like? Are there any here commenting against the Obama/Biden administration that also deplored the Bush/Cheney use of "signing statements," in which that administration gave legal notice that they alone would determine which aspects of which duly passed laws they would deign to abide by or prosecute? I'd hope at least someone here is/was consistent, but maybe Damocles is still looking for someone like that.

Sandy, UT

Karen R,
Here is the problem with your First... The segregation based on race is illegal because "Race" is a protected class under the 1964 Civil Rights Law, Thus the AG would let the Legislature know that it is in violation of Federal Law and would actually be required by his duty to file suit if it went forth.

If there is a law or a constitution amendment that is challenged in Court by whoever, it is the AG job to defend it regardless if he thinks it is a good or bad law. He is the one that duties require him to defend the law.

No I did not say the AG took his stance because of Holder incompetence( I mean Statement). He took his stance because he felt he should do nothing until the court makes a ruling then he would have a better grasp of how to proceed with the issue.

The thing with Holder is what happens if the courts decides that the Amendment 3 it legal? Will the IRS then turn around and have these gay couples repay all the tax breaks they got because holder said they could take them? Think about that for a minute.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@ Confused

I believe both the federal government and the State of Utah did indeed think about that for a minute before they each announced that gay couples legally married before the stay could file their 2013 federal/state returns as "married, filing jointly." For his part, Holder had no choice in the wake of SCOTUS' ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional. You did want him to enforce the law, right?

Salt Lake City, UT

Why don't they just pass some law that prohibits Mormons from getting married, for example! To get the point accross, assume that the majority of people in the state are opposed to Mormons and do not believe in them! So, they pass a law prohibiting them from getting married and they back up their decision with their strong Christian values. You see, Mormons are not Christian to them. All you Mormons out there, would do as you preach and let the majority do this? Do you think it might be unconstitutional? Oh, you better believe it would! Then, on top of that, the legislature decides to pass laws that allow non Mormons to deny service to Mormons because they don't believe in Mormonism! They can deny them anything based on religious freedom! It sounds good doesn't it! Oh, and the federal government should not get involved with what the state wants to do. The Mormons will have to like it or lump it. We can't help it if we don't believe in them!

Stop being such hypocrites! Why don't people do unto others as they would have done unto them?

Salt Lake City, UT

It isn't always easy when it comes to making laws, but there are some things that stand out! Make up any ridiculous religious excuse you want, it isn't right to discriminate and it isn't right to degrade and dehumanize our fellow man! It was not acceptable when it was done to Mormons in the 1800s so why do they feel it is their religious freedom to do this to gay people? So they have issues with someone being gay, it doesn't mean that they have to discriminate.
People say that it isn't hate or bigotry or homophobia, but you notice that they comepletely ignore what gay people have to say about it! We are the ones who have to live with it and yet we have no say, or that is what some people prefer! When I have to lose my job simply because my Mormon boss has a problem with gay people, don't tell me it isn't homophobia and that it isn't hateful and that it isn't discrimination, because it was! It was a horrible experience! Yet, people here would pass laws that would allow this kind of behavior!

Sandy, UT

Maybe you need to back off the grape juice there a bit....

The Mormon "Boss" President Monson has never advocated for bigotry or homophobia, he has stated very clearly, that although we disagree with your beliefs we should still show respect and courtesy (look at his last conference address).

People are human, Not all Mormons live to the standards of the church (that is why they go to improve themselves), just like not all gays are radical, in your face type people.

There are wide varieties of people in each group with differing thoughts.

My gay friends simply wish the LGBT would stop causing all this ruckus and leave. They are tired of the nonsense these people create to try and making other accept their lifestyle all the while bashing the lifestyle of the people they want to accept them. It is a two way street here.

The question posed in the letter was "Should not the President make sure all laws are enforced? and does should not the AG (State or Federal) be the person to be the enforcer of all laws.

Sandy, UT

Nice try but the DOMA law does not work here. SCOTUS ruled that DOMA was unconstitutional because the Federal government does not have the right to define Marriage, it is a state right issue. It was never based on denying people their constitutional rights. It was whether or not the Federal Government had the right to define marriage.

Second, Amendment 3 is a State issue Not a federal issue (state right to define marriage), does not involve the federal government (at least it should not have, but the lines have been blurred over the past decades).

What should have happened is that the complainant should have went through the State court process up to the State Supreme Court, at that time if they did not like the decision then they could appeal directly to SCOTUS, by passing the Federal court system all together.

The federal courts should never be involved in State right issues, that is why we have the system that we do... Eventually everything ends up at the door step of SCOTUS.

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