My Money’s on the Courts

I can remember standing on the steps of the Supreme Court in the spring of 1987, while in Washington D.C. to attend a professional conference. The Bowers v. Hardwick ruling that upheld states’ right to enact and enforce sodomy laws was less than a year old, so my brief vigil was an act of mourning, but it was also an act of hope. I remained convinced that it was the courts that would be first to uphold my civil rights as a lesbian on a national level, which proved to be true when Lawrence v. Kansas overturned Bowers v. Hardwick.

Activist courts and lawyers are among the bete noires of social conservatives. On the other hand, people like me often see them as heroes who will defend the rights of marginalized groups when legislators don’t yet have the political will to take action. A recent example of this is the supreme court ruling affirming the right to gay marriage.

As I watch the current administration attempt to dismantle a host of public protections, my eyes again are on the courts. Specifically, I’ve been watching a coalition of states’ Attorneys General, who over and over again have been among the first challengers of this administration’s failure to protect the public, enforce the law, and abide by the guarantees of our Constitution.

In the past year, state Attorneys General have taken on at least eight issues that I’m aware of:

  • The “Muslim ban”
  • The need for a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government
  • Trump’s failure to fully divest himself of businesses in accordance with the emoluments clause of the Constitution
  • The abandonment of the Dream Act for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • The right to abortion access of women (both minors and adults) being detained by immigration authorities
  • Maintaining loan forgiveness programs for specific groups of college graduates
  • The EPA’s failure to meet a deadline for the enforcement of pollution standards
  • Net neutrality

In fact, one pretty much needs a chart to keep track of the action:

Muslim Ban Indepen-dent Counsel Emol-uments DACA Abortion Access Loan Forgiveness Pollution Standards Net Neutrality
CA
CT
DE
HI
IL
IA
KT
ME
MA
MD
MN
MS
NM
NY
NC
OR
PA
RI
VT
VA
WA
DC

One of the lovely things about postcarding is that you don’t have to write exclusively about complaints; you can also write thank-you notes. Take a look at what these Attorneys General have done, pay attention to which have addressed issues you care about, and drop them an appreciative note.

 

  • Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244
  • George Jepsen, Attorney General, 55 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06106
  • Matthew Denn Carvel State Office Bldg., 820 N. French St., Wilmington, DE 19801
  • Douglas Chin, Attorney General, 425 Queen St., Honolulu, HI 96813
  • Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, 100 West Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601
  • Tom Miller, Attorney General, Hoover Building, 1305 E. Walnut St., Des Moines, IA 50319
  • Andy Beshear 700 Capitol Avenue, Capitol Building, Suite 118, Frankfort, KY 40601
  • Janet T. Mills State House Station 6, Augusta, ME 04333
  • Maura Healey, Attorney General, 1 Ashburn Place, Boston, MA 02108
  • Brian E. Frosh, Attorney General, PO Box 745, Hughesville, MD 20637
  • Lori Swanson, Attorney General , 445 Minnesota St., Suite 1400, St. Paul, MN 55101
  • Jim Hood Department of Justice, P.O. Box 220, Jackson, MS 39205
  • Hector Balderas, Attorney General, 201 3rd St. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
  • Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, The Capitol, Albany, NY 12224
  • Josh Stein, Attorney General, 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699
  • Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Oregon Department of Justice, 1162 Court St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
  • Josh Shapiro, Attorney General, Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, PA 17120
  • Peter F. Kilmartin, Attorney General, 150 S. Main St., Providence RI 02903
  • T. J. Donovan, Attorney General, 109 State St., Monpellier, VT 05609
  • Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, 202 N. 9th St., Richmond, VA 23219
  • Bob Ferguson 1125 Washington St. SE, PO Box 40100, Olympia, WA
  • Karl A. Racine, Attorney General, 4414th St. NW, Washington DC 20001

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