Bench Memos

Envy in NV

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt is making Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval jealous.

Laxalt today joined with several other states to challenge the federal government’s withdrawal of nearly ten million acres of land from public use. Although the federal government stopped short of declaring the greater sage-grouse, a bird that roams the western sagebrush, to be an endangered species, it still adopted a plan that restricts the use of millions of acres of Nevada land. Laxalt alleges that the federal plan violates federal law by contradicting and even rejecting provisions of the state plan. In total, the challenged federal plan may end up significantly restricting over 16 million acres of land.

Governor Sandoval, though, is not happy about the lawsuit. He’s so unhappy, in fact, that he issued a press statement including this proclamation: “By pursuing litigation now, the Attorney General is acting in his personal capacity and does not represent the State of Nevada, the Governor, or any state agencies.”

Although Sandoval wishes he were the only high-level elected official sitting in the state’s executive branch, he’s not. Maybe he’s still sore about Laxalt’s decision to join the multi-state immigration lawsuit pending in the Fifth Circuit. Or maybe he’s frustrated that he torpedoed his own political ambitions by going “all in” for Obamacare and being the first Republican state official to knuckle under to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Or maybe he’s just annoyed that Laxalt’s office is taking the lead in defending the state’s voucher program against an attack by the ACLU.

Whatever the reason for Sandoval’s present discontent, it’s good to see an Attorney General using his authority in the service of federalism. Kudos to Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

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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