Newly appointed Attorney General Michael Geraghty made his first appearance before legislators today to talk about the budget, pending litigation – and what he calls the state’s “proactive” role in state’s rights litigation.
The lawmakers will determine the level of funding for the Department of Law in the budget they are now writing.
Along with Deputy Attorney General James Cantor, Geraghty gave the House Finance Subcommittee an update on thirteen major non-oil lawsuits the state has been involved in this year. He presented cases ranging from corporate income taxes to the Kasuylie and Moore education suits that were settled recently.
Geraghty also addressed what he called the states’ rights cases – from Beluga Whales to Polar Bears to the roadless rule in the Tongass National Forest, to the question of jurisdiction over navigable waters within federal conservation areas.
From my perspective, this is an insidious encroachment on states’ rights. It doesn’t seem like much in a particular case, a particular example – you are going to be talking about endangered species, that’s another example of where we’re losing control over our wildlife. And it’s just an insidious process and we have to fight the good fight.
He also said the state should take care to be proactive — to pick cases it can win throughout the judicial process. He said Alaska will have “tough sledding” by being a part of the “Liberal” Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, But he said with the right cases, Alaska can get before a “somewhat sympathetic U-S Supreme Court.”
Geraghty agreed with Anchorage Democrat Lindsey Holmes –a member of the subcommittee – who said she struggles with the good intentions versus the misuse of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
In the Polar Bear for example, they’re modeling in Global Warming – which in itself tends to be a controversial subject with many people, but that’s …. The modeling is going out well into the future and they’re trying to take into account Global Warming as well. It just seems like it’s gotten away from good science and species that are threatened into these projections. I mean, who can tell the future a hundred years out. It just boggles the mind.
Geraghty was appointed January 12th to head the Department of Law – and he will go through the legislative confirmation process before the end of the session.