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Rutledge Announces Arrest of Garland County Man for Crimes Involving Children

Rutledge Announces Arrest of Garland County Man for Crimes Involving Children

Fri, Mar 24, 2017

HOT SPRINGS – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of Gerald Lee Groomes, of Hot Springs, on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony.

Groomes, 45, was arrested by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit, which was assisted by the Hot Springs Police Department. He is being held in the Garland County Jail on $105,000 bond.

Special agents in the Attorney General’s office began investigating Groomes after agents determined that someone using a computer at the residence downloaded sexually explicit material involving children.

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Rutledge: Ban on Dismemberment Abortions is Lawful

Rutledge: Ban on Dismemberment Abortions is Lawful

Tue, Mar 21, 2017

Says, ‘I will consistently advocate for the lives of the unborn and defend our State’s legal right to protect unborn children’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a coalition of 22 states filing an amicus brief in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that an Alabama law banning dismemberment abortions is constitutional and that a federal judge incorrectly struck it down.

“It is horrifying to imagine an innocent, defenseless unborn baby being torn limb from limb,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The thought of this makes it even more perplexing that a district court would ignore a State’s lawful authority to protect and promote human life and regulate medical ethics by prohibiting this act. As Arkansas’s chief legal officer, I will consistently advocate for the lives of the unborn and defend our State’s legal right to protect unborn children.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that states have an interest in protecting and fostering respect for human life, including the unborn, and the district court’s decision ignored this precedent. Abortion by dismemberment compromises respect for life and the medical profession’s ethics, the brief outlines.

The states make clear in the brief that they do not sanction abortion generally saying, “They regret being placed in a position of advocating for fetal death as a humane alternative to a procedure that should have no place in a civilized society – a situation that only highlights how absurdly far judicial decisions regarding unborn human life have departed from authorities barring inhumane treatment to animals and criminals who are facing the death penalty. But in light of precedent, amici strongly support the authority of states to protect both the life and dignity of unborn life in that small way, and thus have an interest in ensuring that courts scrutinize such regulations under appropriate standards.”

Earlier this year, the Arkansas General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted and Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a similar law banning dismemberment form of abortion. Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia have also enacted similar prohibitions, and Texas has comparable legislation pending before its Legislature.

Led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, Rutledge is joined on the brief by Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

Guest Column: Confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

Mon, Mar 20, 2017

Rutledge says, ‘Like Justice Scalia, Judge Gorsuch’s record reveals him to have a moderately originalist approach to constitutional issues, a moderately textual approach to statutory issues and perhaps most importantly an open mind that allows for the use of other modes of interpretation when they are necessary and appropriate under the law.’

LITTLE ROCK – Today, an op-ed written by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge appeared in the Washington Examiner, praising the selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Donald Trump and urging confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

As the nomination hearing of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court is set to begin today, it is important to remember that his nomination has been met with a great consensus of support from both sides of the political spectrum. Even President Barack Obama’s former Solicitor General Neal Katyal has urged confirmation, noting that Judge Gorsuch’s “years on the bench reveal a commitment to judicial independence” and a record “that should give the American people confidence that he will not compromise principle to favor the President who appointed him.” Such support is unsurprising given the sterling judicial record of Judge Gorsuch.

In many ways, Judge Gorsuch will be the intellectual heir to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Like Justice Scalia, Judge Gorsuch’s record reveals him to have a moderately originalist approach to constitutional issues, a moderately textual approach to statutory issues and perhaps most importantly an open mind that allows for the use of other modes of interpretation when they are necessary and appropriate under the law. And like Justice Scalia, Judge Gorsuch’s record reveals that he consistently, meticulously and zealously applies express constitutional protections in favor of criminal defendants and those against whom the coercive power of the government is deployed. His dissent in A.M. v. Holmes, where he found a police officer to have violated a student’s rights, best displays his sensitivity to the power of the government being used arbitrarily against its citizens.

Of course, Judge Gorsuch is not a carbon copy of Justice Scalia, nor should he try to be. For one example, Judge Gorsuch will be more likely than Justice Scalia was to question the deference that courts have afforded to executive agency “interpretations” of legislative acts. As made clear in his concurrence in Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch, Judge Gorsuch is wary of the power that the executive branch has amassed over the last several decades, often at the expense of the legislative and judicial branches. This approach well aligns with an originalist respect for separation of powers and federalism, and promises to be an important bulwark against the collection of power in any one branch or level of government.

In a now famous analogy, Chief Justice John Roberts at his confirmation hearing likened a good judge to an umpire who dispassionately calls balls and strikes without adjusting the strike zone based on the identity of the teams. I’ve always liked that sentiment, but Justice Gorsuch did one better in my book during the announcement of his nomination. Judge Gorsuch said that “a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge” because that judge is probably “stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.” This sentiment perfectly captures what it means in the real world for judges “to say what the law is” and not “make law” themselves. He’s right about the proper role of a judge, and his commitment to restrain himself in this way should be a welcome promise for all political sides.

I strongly support Judge Gorsuch’s nomination and am confident he will be confirmed.

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Files Lawsuit Against EPA for Altering Regional Haze Rule

Rutledge Files Lawsuit Against EPA for Altering Regional Haze Rule

Wed, Mar 15, 2017

Says, ‘Regardless of who is in the White House or leading the EPA, it is my duty to protect Arkansans from federal overreach’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over amendments that would significantly change the regulations governing regional haze and are inconsistent with the Clean Air Act.

“Regardless of who is in the White House or leading the EPA, it is my duty to protect Arkansans from federal overreach,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I called on the EPA last summer to fully consider the effects these amendments would have on ratepayers. Regrettably, the EPA chose a different path, which will increase costs and drastically reduce the role State officials have in establishing Arkansas’s approach to combatting regional haze.”

In August, Rutledge led a coalition of eight attorneys general in a letter to the EPA, urging officials to fully consider the effects and costs of the proposed amendments.

The lawsuit today is separate from Rutledge’s challenge to the EPA’s Federal Implementation Plan for regional haze in Arkansas, which was filed in November. Last month, Rutledge filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit to stay the plan.

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CFPB is Unconstitutional

Rutledge: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is Unconstitutional

Mon, Mar 13, 2017

Says, ‘I have seen firsthand the unworkable relationship this agency currently presents to the States’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is arguing that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is unconstitutional and that Director Richard Cordray should be subject to political appointment.

“Having met with Director Cordray last year and expressed my concerns over many sweeping regulations, I have seen firsthand the unworkable relationship this agency currently presents to the states,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “A prior panel found the CFPB’s structure to be unconstitutional, and I hope that the full circuit will do the same and find that Director Cordray should be accountable to the President of the United States.”

The CFPB was created during the Obama Administration and exercises far-reaching regulatory authority over the financial-services industry, including community banks. In October 2016, a panel of the D.C. Circuit found that the CFPB violates the Constitution’s separation of powers because the agency is headed by a single director not accountable to any elected official and who can be removed under only extraordinary circumstances.

In February, the full court of appeals agreed to rehear the case en banc.

In the brief, the attorneys general write, “The CFPB’s novel governance structure vests control of the agency in a single director who is not accountable to any elected officials. Thus, the CFPB’s action is not constrained by the ‘political safeguards of federalism,’ which the Supreme Court has treated as an essential mechanism for preserving the role of the States within the federal system.”

Led by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, Rutledge is joined on the brief by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Calls on EPA to End Era of Overreach

Rutledge Calls on EPA to End Era of Overreach

Fri, Mar 10, 2017

Says, ‘I am calling on Administrator Pruitt to return the EPA to a path of cooperative federalism’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has sent a letter to her former colleague and new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, calling for an end to the era of federal overreach that characterized the EPA’s countless regulatory actions during the Obama Administration.

“Instead of working cooperatively with the states over the last eight years to protect the environment, the EPA has chosen to ignore the lawful role of the states or give consideration to the impact these rules would have on citizens or businesses,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am calling on Administrator Pruitt to return the EPA to a path of cooperative federalism. The EPA should follow the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act and engage in transparent rulemaking that benefits the environment -- not a liberal agenda.”

Because the EPA has chosen to ignore the clear intent of the laws passed by Congress and comments submitted in opposition to proposed rules, Rutledge has been forced to challenge the so-called Clean Power Plan, Waters of the U.S., Federal Implementation Plan for Regional Haze, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction standard changes for State Implementation Plans and the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

“From our perspective, the recent overreach by the Agency amounts to a striking departure from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts,” the State leaders wrote. “Respectfully, we ask that you consider the steps that the Agency may take to restore the principles of cooperative federalism embodied in these important statutes.”

Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Rutledge is joined in the letter by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming, along with the Governors of Kentucky and Mississippi.

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