Bench Memos

Colorado AG Cynthia Coffman Defends the Rule of Law from the Colorado Governor

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is working hard to represent the legal interests of Colorado, and Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper, is not happy about it. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is apparently frustrated that the state’s elected Attorney General thinks she works for the people of the state and not for his office.

Hickenlooper’s grievance is based on Coffman’s recent decision to join a bipartisan state lawsuit against the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Plan,” which others have dubbed the “Clean Power Grab” for its dubious legality and crushing economic impact. The state lawsuit challenges the EPA’s lawlessness and seeks to avoid the economic devastation that the rule imposes on the American economy. But Hickenlooper supports the EPA’s 1,560-page regulatory monstrosity, and thinks that Coffman shouldn’t be able to file suit without permission from the governor. Hickenlooper has now brought the issue to the Colorado Supreme Court in the hopes of taking control over the state’s elected AG. His argument is that because the state is the AG’s “client,” only the governor gets to speak for the state.

AGs in states that have liberal governors, such as Colorado AG Coffman and Nevada AG Adam Laxalt, play an extremely important role in protecting their state’s citizens from federal overreach. Kudos to Attorney General Coffman for defending the rule of law in spite of Hickenlooper’s opposition.

Jonathan KeimJonathan Keim is Counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Princeton University, an experienced litigator, and ...


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