WA Legal Roundup - WA Supreme Court: McKenna has discretion to pursue repealing Obamacare, but not to hang State Agencies in wind
In this pair of opinions, the State lays out the duties of the Attorney General. He has discretion to pursue things, yes. But he does not have the discretion to let state agencies hang in the wind. Thus, he has to represent the Department of Natural Resources in pursing the head of that agencies agenda, and cannot simply say he doesn't want to. However, he can also pursue taking down Obamacare.
Here's where it gets iffy in my opinion. The governor expressly supports Obamacare. It seems to me then that he is in dereliction of representation of the Office of the Governor. Does this mean that the Gregoire can use the state AG's office to draft an amicus against itself? Doesn't this create a conflict within the AG's office? Shouldn't discretionary authority be limited by the head of the agency to which you are beholden?
Well, our attorney general really has no inherent powers other than advisory to state agencies. Other powers "may be prescribed by law" under our constitution. A statute (RCW 43.10.030) allows McKenna to engage in litigation in which the State has interest, and interpretation of law gives him discretion on that interest. So basically, its now up to the legislature.
One route may be for the governor to declare the state has no interest in this litigation via formal proclamation, then institute litigation against McKenna herself.
I dunno, McKenna is pushing forward his partisan agenda here in a gubernatorial bid. No sir, I don't like it!