The State of Washington v. The United States of America
We have established federal and state systems of government. Both feature the separation of powers and checks and balances that are intended to keep each branch of government within its respective “lane.”
The federal executive, currently President Trump, has a wide range of rights and responsibilities that are outside the purview of the legislative and judicial branches, and for that matter the individual states. The executive has the authority to set certain policies. Some of that authority is derived from the US Constitution, and some is delegated to the executive by Congress.
If you don’t agree with a certain policy, that in and of itself does not mean the policy is illegal.
Washington State has senators and members of congress to serve as our voice in the federal government. It is through that mechanism (aside from voting for President) that Washingtonians influence national policy.
There will certainly be times where there are disputes between the State of Washington and the US government, and it may be necessary for the courts to resolve the disputes.
What is wholly unacceptable, however, is involving the courts to obstruct the federal executive simply because you disagree with the executive’s policies.
Bob “Sideshow” Ferguson has wasted a tremendous amount of your tax dollars suing the Trump administration simply because he disagrees with the administration’s policies while ignoring the problems facing people here in Washington.
If Sideshow wants to set national policy he should run for Congress or President. His lack of focus on Washington State should cost him your vote for Attorney General.
The Washington State Legislature recently passed Initiative 1000.
I-1000 would reinstate affirmative action in Washington state, and would specifically allow consideration of a person’s race, sex, ethnicity, age, national origin, and other factors to “achieve goals” when making employment, education, and contracting decisions.
The initiative claims to prohibit preferential treatment, which if true negates the need for the initiative.
There are state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination. This initiative opens the door to allowing discriminatory practices.
How exactly would this initiative be enforced? In our current era of Elizabeth Warrens and people “identifying as” fill-in-the-blank, what would be the threshold to establish that a person is a member of a protected class? Would a blood test be required?
Why would we want to retreat from progress made towards equality for all? How can we combat racism and other types of discrimination when we as a society, through mechanisms such as I-1000, continue to promote racism and discrimination?
As a final note, Article 1, Section 12 of the Washington State Constitution states, “No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, or corporations.”
In my view equal protection under the law is a fundamental right–a right which would be trampled by I-1000– rendering the initiative unconstitutional.
Free speech on campuses
I have watched events at the University of Washington and the Evergreen State College and can’t help but wonder why our current attorney general has not shown any leadership or taken any obvious steps to protect students’ First Amendment rights.
If elected attorney general my authority and responsibilities would include advising state universities. My advice would include content-neutral policies related to the use of university (government) space, and permits and fees for guest speakers.
Failure to heed such advice would make it difficult to defend lawsuits and should call into question the continued viability of the leaders of those institutions.
I have first hand experience with immigration and immigrants; I lived in Australia for a time on a Permanent Resident Visa (their equivalent of a green card).
In order to legally enter, stay and work in Australia I had to jump through a number of hoops: criminal background check, education history verification, medical exam, and proof that I could read/write/speak English even though I was born in the U.S. If I had brought school aged children with me I would have had to pay a fee to offset the cost of their education. Last but not least, I had to apply for, pay for, and wait in line for a visa.
I don’t believe it is unreasonable for us to ask such things of people who want to come to the United States. We will expect legal immigrants to obey our laws once they are here; we can expect them to obey the law on their way in.
Setting aside, for the moment, the question of why wouldn’t we want our nation’s laws enforced, one of the pillars of my campaign is equal protection under the law.
Some sanctuary policies are simply virtual signals which don’t have any real effect.
Others provide benefits that are not afforded to the law abiding and some, releasing violent criminals so they aren’t deported, are dangerous to our communities.
As Attorney General I will review each state and local sanctuary policy and law (such as those having to do with criminal prosecution standards, sentencing, reporting information to federal agencies, tax-payer benefits provided to illegal aliens, etc.) to ensure that Americans and legal residents are not being treated less favorably than illegal aliens. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, but everyone needs to be treated equally. We cannot exempt a class of people from following our laws.
Unconstitutionally subverting the Electoral College
The U.S. Constitution established a number of checks, balances, and compromises to ensure that the federal government did not attain too much power and that states with smaller populations were not dictated to by the more populous states.
The Constitution, by design, is difficult to amend so that a simple majority cannot vote to extinguish the rights of others. Imagine if 50.1% of people decided that the other 49.9% no longer had the right to free speech or that police no longer needed a warrant to search their homes?
So what do people, who disagree with the Constitution but lack anywhere near the support needed to amend it, do? They try to “contract” their way around the Constitution. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement between a number of states to award their state’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote for president. Washington has entered into this agreement by passing RCW 29A.56.300.
An argument for this change is to ensure that “every vote counts.” Supposedly this would make candidates pay attention to all 50 states. Except that it wouldn’t. Candidates would focus their time and resources in the most populous areas and we would be back to the very thing our founders were attempting to avoid: A handful of states perpetually choosing the president, and the remainder of the states irrelevant.
There are also a number of (hopefully) unintended consequences to electing the president in this manner. Do you ever vote 3rd party? The compact would essentially take your vote away. A 3rd party candidate won’t win a national majority of votes in our lifetimes, if ever. However, it is possible for a 3rd party candidate to win a handful of states and affect the national election in that manner.
Imagine a presidential candidate that had widespread support in Washington and 80% of Washingtonians ended up voting for that candidate. If that candidate lost the national popular vote, it would result in the nullification of 80% of votes in the state. That hardly seems fair…or constitutional.
We do not have a national direct democracy in our country. The individual states are the primary government entities, hence the United States of America. As a state we choose our senators and representatives, and as a state we choose who should be president.
We should not be so quick to give up our state’s power. It makes one wonder why the elected officials who passed RCW 29A.56.300 were so eager to do so?
It is not too much of a stretch to wonder if what the people responsible for this compact are after is the elimination of the states themselves. Do were really want an all powerful national government where all laws are passed by the people of what is now California?
This sort of consolidation of power is exactly what our founders rejected.
For all the claimed concern for the disenfranchisement of some voters, it is wholly unacceptable that our elected officials passed a law that could disenfranchise a majority of Washingtonians.
As Attorney General I would work to have this unconstitutional scheme repealed or invalidated.