The Trump Administration Can Relieve Embattled State Attorneys General

Alan Wilson Attorney General, South Carolina
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Over the last 8 years unelected Washington bureaucrats have flaunted their disdain for the Constitution, circumvented Congress and attempted to rule through administrative fiat rather than govern under the rule of law. This approach set the stage for what would be one of the most unorthodox elections in history. The American people sent Washington D.C. a simple message – stop!

Republican state attorneys general have been the last line of defense fighting countless unconstitutional laws, regulations and executive actions for the last eight years. President-elect Trump has an opportunity to provide us with much needed support. By doing so, he will re-energize our economy by promoting a limited-government that is responsible, predictable and more accountable.

Some of this work can be done before the inauguration by the transition team. I am certain Vice President-Elect Pence, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and other members of the transition team are studying the scores of legal actions state attorneys general have taken over the last eight years to protect the Constitution. Our efforts serve as a road map for actions that can be taken in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency to restore the rule of law.

This road map also includes nominating individuals in the mold of Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court. There is not a finer list of potential jurists than the 21 names Trump announced for consideration earlier this year. My hope is these legal minds will find their way to the Supreme Court and various appellate and circuit courts nationwide.

Trump can also appoint rule of law minded individuals to key posts throughout his administration. These new appointees will have the ability to eliminate a large number of job-killing regulations by simply directing their attorneys to drop their appeals of lower court stays against the federal government.

These stays include immigration and costly overreaches, such as the Clean Power Plan and the EPA’s interpretation of Waters of the United States (WOTUS), currently stayed by various federal courts. The Clean Power Plan could increase energy costs by nearly 30 percent. WOTUS is a similar overreach equivalent to an illegal land grab by unelected bureaucrats which would subject something as simple as a drainage ditch to the same regulations as navigable waters like the Mississippi River. WOTUS will drive up the cost of building everything from homes to schools and churches, and make it very difficult for citizens to use their private property the way they want.

Aside from dropping the appeals of lower court stays against these unconstitutional executive actions, Trump can stop President Obama’s plan to ship terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to military bases in Colorado, Kansas and South Carolina. He can also halt the Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule, which harms employees and small-businesses alike. The list could go on and on.

The longer process will be the repeal of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. These federal laws should have never passed and should have never been upheld by the courts. These laws have centralized control over the health care and financial industries into the hands of unelected bureaucrats who lack an understanding of their constitutional limits, the free market and the unintended consequences they are creating from the implementation of these laws.

The reality is Obamacare did not make healthcare more affordable. It caused premiums to sky rocket, reduced competition and weakened the quality of care. Dodd-Frank did not improve consumer-banking, instead it enshrined too-big-to-fail institutions; reduced access to much needed loans; and made community banks endangered species.

In 2013, The Weekly Standard called Republican attorneys general “the unsung heroes in challenging the Obama agenda.” For the last eight years we have focused on fighting federal overreach, defending states’ rights and protecting the rule of law. America sent a loud message on Nov. 8 that enough is enough. Americans are tired of the very regulations, red tape and executive orders attorneys general have been challenging for the last eight year. With the help of President Trump, we now have a chance to follow this road map and put the power back where it belongs, in the hands of the people and their representatives.

Alan Wilson is the Attorney General of South Carolina.