The Rule of Law

In this video Attorney General Lawrence Wasden addresses important topics such as the Texas vs Pennsylvania Lawsuit, Protecting the Sovereign Powers of Idaho from California, President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court Justices support the position of Attorney General Wasden, and Vaccine Mandates

The Rule of Law

In its simplest form, the Rule of Law means that everyone is subject to the As the chief legal officer of the state providing legal advice to other state officers, it is most important that the Attorney General abides by the Rule of Law. That means the Attorney General is subject to the law and must rigorously comply with his oath of office.

In providing legal advice or representing the state in court, the Attorney General must look only to the law and not to his personal opinion, personal interests, to promote someone else’s ideology or to seek election to office. To do so, is a violation of the oath of office and the Rule of Law. Often, the Attorney General must give legal advice that does not make clients or the public happy. Sometimes the Attorney General gives legal advice with which he may personally disagree. But that is what is required. It is imperative that the Attorney General gives unvarnished legal advice. Otherwise, his clients and the public are damaged.

The traffic signal. I often describe my job as looking at a traffic signal. Let’s assume the traffic light is red and you and I are in a car. You ask me, what color is the light? I can give one of two answers. Either I can tell you the truth and say, “the light is red” or I can lie and say, “the light is green.” If I tell the truth people are often upset and angry, because they don’t like the answer and they then make a variety of unjustified accusations. However, if I am willing to lie to make them happy and falsely say the light is green, it doesn’t change the color of the light. It is still red and when you drive through the intersection, you are at grave risk. The best thing I can do is tell the truth, even if that is not what you want to hear.

Incidentally, sometimes the light is red and I must say you are required to stop. Other times, I must say the light is yellow, therefore, proceed with caution. Sometimes I must say the light is green, you are authorized to act. In each of those instances it does not mean that I either agree or disagree with my client’s choices to act or not act. I do not make their policy choices for them. I simply advise them about the color of the light.

Why is this discussion necessary? In part, this discussion is necessary to properly explain the job of the Attorney General and to understand why it was important for me to take some actions with which some people disagree and, in part, this discussion is necessary to draw a distinction between me and my opponents. In the points below, I will discuss why I have taken a variety of actions. Here, however, I will discuss some of the statements by my opponents. One of them said, he would be a “true partner with conservative lawmakers.” Another one said, that when he is elected, “our conservative elected officials will finally have a true defender in office.” If you examine these statements carefully, you will recognize they are telling you they will not abide by the Rule of Law, nor fulfill their oath of office. The Attorney General doesn’t represent liberals, or conservatives, or moderates, or Democrats, or Republicans, or Libertarians or any other party or ideological viewpoint. Instead, the Attorney General takes an oath to uphold the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions — the law — and to the best of his ability to fulfill his duties — the law. The Attorney General takes an oath to abide by the Rule of Law, not to serve himself or his politically like-minded compatriots. My opponents disagree and foster the notion that they will represent “conservatives”. In essence, to say you are going to represent “conservatives” means you are not willing to truthfully tell the color of the traffic light. Instead, you are willing to shade the truth, in order to advance yourself and someone else’s ideology. My opponents have clearly identified that they plan to violate the oath of office. On the other hand, I have repeatedly upheld the Rule of Law and my oath of office even when it was to my political detriment. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” I have put my feet in the right place and will continue to stand firm.

Three Branches of Government and Separation of Powers

As you are aware, both national and state governments are divided into three separate and co-equal branches. The members of one branch of government are prohibited from exercising the powers of the other branches of government, unless the Constitution provides otherwise. Idaho Const. Art. II, Sec. 1. This is one of the examples of the principle of limited government.

As previously mentioned, the Attorney General is a member of the Executive branch of state government. Idaho Const. Art. IV, Sec. 1. As such, the Attorney General cannot make the law. That power is granted to the legislature or reserved to the people. Idaho Const. Art. III, Sec. 1. Nor can the Attorney General render a judgment in criminal or civil lawsuits. The judicial power is granted to the judicial branch of government. Idaho Const. Art. V, Sec. 2.

The difference between the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho

It is important to note that the Idaho Attorney General is an Idaho state officer and not the United States Attorney for the District of Idaho. The U.S. Attorney is part of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and represents the United States government. There is a United States Attorney General in Washington D.C. nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. But the U.S. Attorney General and the Idaho Attorney General are different people, who represent different governments and have different duties.