Re-elect Suthers as attorney general

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is defending the TABOR Amendment

John Suthers’ opponent, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, accuses Suthers of politicizing the Colorado attorney general’s office.

The argument doesn’t hold water for a Republican attorney general who has worked closely with a Democratic governor and state Legislature on many issues. The efficient operation of his office and the fulfillment of its legal responsibilities have been Suthers’ top priority, and the reason he should be re-elected.

As evidence that Suthers has politicized the office, Garnett points to national cases Suthers has joined, such as the lawsuit aimed at overturning a key provision of Obamacare and others defending Second Amendment rights.

Suthers argues in response that the state attorney general has a significant interest in defending federalism — the concept that states have rights through the Constitution and there are limits on what the federal government can order states to do. That’s a major part of the Obamacare lawsuit.

“I also think its critical to protect the rights of citizens,” as in the Second Amendment case, Suthers said.

We have disagreed with Suthers, most notably, his involvement in the lawsuit challenging the individual mandate in Obamacare.

But he seems to have done so based on his sincere belief that the mandate is unconstitutional and an infringement on state authority, rather than a personal effort to further the GOP agenda. That’s especially true, since Suthers has disavowed any intention of seeking higher public office once he is no longer attorney general.

Those issues aside, Suthers has managed the office in a competent and fair manner since he was appointed in 2005. Roughly 80 percent of his duties involve representing all state agencies on legal issues, and he has done so without respect to party or ideology.

Additionally, he has worked with members of the Legislature to pass new laws related to Internet predators and to protect consumers going through foreclosure from con men.

Furthermore, contrary to Garnett’s claims, Suthers and his staff have undertaken considerable work on consumer protection, from trade issues to prosecutions of white collar crime.

He has completed environmental cases initiated by his predecessors to clean up Rocky Flats and Rocky Mountain Arsenal on the Front Range and California Gulch near Leadville. He has continued to defend Colorado’s water rights and established a section within his office that works exclusively on Colorado River issues.

Stan Garnett is a personable man and a capable attorney with a great deal of private experience, as well as time as an elected district attorney. We also like his commitment to beefing up the consumer-protection responsibilities of the attorney general’s office.

But John Suthers has demonstrated the past five years his ability to manage the office of attorney general efficiently and successfully, with a minimum of partisanship. We urge his re-election.


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