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tv   Republican Natl Lawyers Association Conference - Attorneys General Panel ...  CSPAN  April 30, 2018 5:57pm-7:13pm EDT

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and thetion center's, landmark cases podcast at cases. >> now from the republican national lawyers association, a discussion on the rule of law and the lungren attorneys general from oklahoma and arkansas. >> good morning. good morning. smarter with carter. words that resonated throughout one of the bluest cities in the country during the 2016 election. the person behind this was ashley carter. the highest elected public in washington, who notwithstanding a sea of blue voters, residing
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in the nation's capital, was elected to the board of education. actually one her seat with tireless campaigning in every ward and community in the city including those regularly overlook by city leaders. , giving parents and children options. her promise to hold policymakers accountable one of the voters over. ashley's victory proves republicans can win in the most challenging circumstances by outworking their opponents. i have the honor and privilege to present the 2018 betty serve their murphy award -- the carter. -- two ashley carter.
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the late betty southern murphy was a legend among lawyers. a reagan appointee. she headed the eeoc, and was on the ground floor and launching the are in 08. i had the privilege of being years.rtner for 11 betty champion the overlooked, the unsung heroes, who make big things happen for everyone else. after her death i headed the committee which named an award in her honor. to recognize these unsung heroes. republican trailblazer is with entrepreneurial spirits, organizational builders who inspire others and make
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significant change. our 2018 awardee, ashley carter is one such leader. her accomplishments are not limited to the school board. ashley is also the director of coalitions for the independent women's forum. the preeminent and the independent women's voice. the preeminnocent promoters for women. she was a 2016 d.c. fellow for the national review institute and regularly speakness issues affecting women in politics. she volunteers with the junior league of washington, serves on the advisory council for the washington literacy center and promotes literacy development by working with several area nonprofits. prior to joining the independent women's forum, ashley worked in
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political consulting and was involved with political campaigns at the national and state level, including mitt omney for president, ken cuchinelli for governor of virginia, and martha mcsally for congress. a native of maryland, she cut her teeth in politics in the office of congressman roscoe bartlett and worked for the maryland general assembly. during the administration of governor bob ereli. she also worked with state party leaders across the country with our own rnla. ashley received her b.a. in government and politics in from the university of maryland and studied at the university of baltimore and catholic university for her j.d. on behalf of the rnla and the board of governors and since we are all smarter with carter,
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please join me in congratulating shley carter as the 2018 betty sutton award resip cent. [applause] -- recipient. [applause] ashley: thank you for that lovely introduction, joanne. you have been such a supporterser throughout the years and i greatly appreciate everything that joanne has done to teach me in both law and community. and i want to also thank michael and britney at the rnla here today because without their support, i am not sure that i would currently be elected or be
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where i am today. i've learned so much through my time at rnla and greatly appreciate the work that rnla does to uphold elections and keep them open, honest, and fair. and thank you. what an honor it is to be awarded the betty s. murphy award here today. she was one of the co-founders of this great organization and a champion for women and women republicans throughout the country. i was surprised when i was -- when it was announced that i would be receiving this award because oftentimes i don't consider my dedication to the community, d.c., and this country special or worthy of such an award. i consider it my duty and my privilege to work to make where i live a better place and to give back where i can.
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i'm proud to stand up here today as an elected official and as a nonprofit and community leader to show that we each can make the world a better place if we are passionate about what we do, work hard, and stay humble. i continue my working -- my work here in d.c. and around the country helping to shape policy for working women and their loved ones, build a pipeline of talented women to be the next leaders shaping the political landscape, and explore ways to create a more robust education system that workers in next generation of students. as a leader, i dedicate my time especially to the issue of literacy. here in the city of d.c., because like our founding father thomas jefferson, i believe that a better educated, well-informed
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electorate will only help to create a more efficient government for all. and may help to elect a few republicans in the process. this award is not just for me. but for all of the unsung heroes around the country who roll up their sleeves, get in the trenches, and work to uphold and defend the principles of the constitution and to help keep our elections open, honest, and fair for all. i hope my work in policy, politics, and education inspire others to take initiative and become problem solvers in their own communities, to make where we live and work a better place to live, work, and play. thank you again. [applause] thank you very much.
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>> thank you so much, joanne and ashley. i couldn't think of anybody better. we've spent a lot of time working together in rnla and to do what you did in d.c. is amazing. we're going to switch for our first panel and get started with our state attorneys general now.
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>> we're going to kick off our event here with individuals as a group, that has been at the forefront, particularly over the last eight years and fighting for the rule of law as the prior administration took some pretty aggressive steps that moved in a direction that seemed to depart from constitutional bounds and particularly the separation between the federal and state governments. thomas: and the attorneys general have been the bulwark the republican attorneys general have been the bulwark against federal overreach for the last eight years. i'm pleased that leslie was able to make it. i first met leslie at a republican national lawyers event, i think up with of your first fundraisers to kick off your campaign.
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it's the integral nature of our organization with republicans, not just federal but the state elected officials as well. you've done a phenomenal job ince then. i have the disticket privilege of introducing the host of this particular panel, the guy who does it every time because of his partnership with the attorneys general, he co-shares the firm's state attorneys general practice. j. scrmplet a former novet rnla he has more than 25 years of experience in law and public policy he was recognized by chambers u.s.a. as one of the most proficient attorneys on the scene. having attended raga meetings an national attorneys generals meetings, he's the man. if i follow him around, i can meet everybody. early in his cleerk served as and lative counsel to roth
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helped with the regal banking act and advised clients on every major bill in 20 years. in 2009 he received a presidential appointment to the center for disputes, part of the world bank. in recognition of his professional accomplishments he was named republican law of the year in 2012. j.c.? [applause] >> thanks, tom, for the kind introduction. we thought we'd keep this more conversational rather than anything too formal so we'll stay seated and i hope get questions from the audience as well in this conversation. my pleasure to co-host this with
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former attorney general dan lungren, my left, not necessarily politically. great to have him here as well. dan joined king and spalding about a month ago as senior down sthoifl firm and will be working with our state a.g. group. thanks again, dan, for being here. just a couple, well, i think it's appropriate even though though we're a national lawyers organization, most of us recognize that lot of good things happen outside of washington. we have terrific state leaders. we have two of them here, attorney general leslie rutledge who i think most of you know for many, many years of active membership with the rnla and attorney general mike connor, great to be here this morning too. i know you spent a number of years in washington. guilty as charged. so real quick introduction. leslie is the 5 th attorney general in arkansas, the first woman elected to that office and i think amazingly the first republican elected to attorney
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general in arkansas' history, pretty incredible. she -- [applause] she began her legal career clerking for the arkansas court of appeals. she later was elected to serve as deputy council to the office of then-governor mike huckabee. and then she came to washington and -- which is where we met, serving as deputy down sthoifl nrcc, later went on to be counsel of the r.n.c. and served in the 2012 election. she's been act we've a numb of organization, junior league, federal society, rnla and is currently serving as chairman, chairwoman, of raga, republican attorneys general association. again, great to have you here leslie. mike hunter, i'm going to have to shorten your resume, you've done a lot of things. great to have you attorney general, appointed last year,
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february 20, by the governor of oklahoma to be attorney general, filling out scott pruitt's attorney general position and he went on to bigger and better things. we'll hear more about that later, hear from him later on today. general hunter served as first assistant attorney general before he was a.g. he was c.o.o. of the a.b.a., not the american bar association, it's the american bankers association, along with frank keating of oklahoma. he was secretary of the commission of land office in oklahoma. he was c. oomplet o. -- c.o.o. of the american council of life insurance, acli. he served as york secretary of state and was chief of staff to then-congressman j.c. watts. i like j.c.'s first name by the way. and was general counsel of the oklahoma corporation commission. great to have both of you hear, joined by dan lungren.
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let me start by throwing out a general question for you to comment on or bring up anything else on your mind but what are your top two or three top of mind issues in arkansas and oklahoma, start with you, leslie. leslie: thank you, j.c. thank you to the republican national lawyers for hosting today's panel, inviting the republican attorneys general, mike and i, to be here with you all this morning. as j.c. mentioned, i've known a lot of you all over the years. for me it's sort of like coming back to see friends and family. kind of like old home week to come to the rnla policy conference. unfortunately this year i won't be able to attend the election law seminar later this summer because i'm expecting my first child in august. [applause] thank you. being married to a row crop farmer he said, baby that could be corn harvest. i said it's going to be harvest season all right.
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that is going to be my number one priority this summer thofpblee official front for the attorney general office in arkansas, certainly we've worked on a lot of consumer protection issues. criminal justice. ensuring that we hold those individuals accountable who have harmed arkansasians. but on the large scale and perhaps what we're going to talk most about today is how the role of the attorneys general has evolved over the last several years, particularly following during president obama's administration and even currently. what we've seen over the last four or five years is that we went from being the last line of defense for president obama, a.g.'s and led by now administrator skth pruitt and others to suing the federal administration, whether it was an e.p.a. case, the obamacare case, a number of lawsuits, the department of labor overtime rules that mike and i can speak to later, now we're working
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collaboratively with this administration. i'm not saying we agree on everything. i'd be surprised if any lawyers in the room agree on anything, sometimes i don't atpwhree with myself on everything. now we have a seat at the table. it's been refreshing as the attorneys general to have states rights being recognized and the rule of law being recognized by this administration whereas before it had been trampled on quite frankly. it was the role of the republican a.g.'s to hold the line and to file those lawsuits. so in terms of priorities, we are doing everything we can at home in arkansas to go after bad guys. i tell people i go after criminals, con artists and overreaching federal governments and that has been very effective because unfortunately there was a lot of all of those in those category farce number of years. i think as we talk today, that's probably what we want to focus on is some of the issues we've worked with together across state lines.
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in the last -- during the last administration how it's evolved in this administration. i'll hand toyota you, mike. mike: thanks. good morning, everyone. the bible and shakespeare are important assets to any attorney, as clarence darrow advised once, and i'm very fond of one part of the good book and, i think it's proverbs 11:14, where there's no counsel, the people fail. but in an abundance of counselors there's safetism i'm feeling very safe today as i look around the room, j.c. the challenge of any attorney general is i think fundamentally to keep the people of your state safe. frequently that means keeping them safe from, as leslie said, criminals and scam artists.
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-- ofallenge of attorneys attorneys general for the last seven or eight years has been to keep people safe from an overreaching, predatory national government through the executive branch. one of the challenges we're beginning to see, and it's really in many ways a subset of what attorneys general were trying to combat for the eight years barack obama was president, and that is the po litization of the exercise of -- the plitcyization of the exercise of executive power. we're seeing that now through the courts. republican attorneys general were doing their best to to protect federalism. were doing their best to keep out of the courtroom and what we see now unfortunately is our colleagues on the other side of the aisle toin doing the best they can
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politicize the courts and to politicize decision making out of the courts. we are very careful in my office to advise that it is not our job to make policy. in fact, the only involvement that we have with our legislature is when there's a public safety issue. so that's the line we draw. and in fact, like a lot of a.g.'s offices, when you have responsibility to issue attorneys general opinions, which have the force and effect of law, you're in the middle of politics all the time, the state is not going to be able to trust you and your office when it comes to the issuance of attorney general opinions. so i think attorneys general uniquely ought to be state officers who do their best to focus on the law and not policy. and is that's an important part of, again, what we have tried to
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establish as a priority. in terms of an area where we're seing a lot of activity in our office, j.c., we're involved in opioid litigation in our state against five manufacturers. we're in state court. and that is a challenge for our office and it's certainly stretch regular sources. but at the end of the day, you have to recognize whether it's palatable or not, sometimes businesses do bad things. and when businesses do bad things they need to be held accountable. when you're seeing last year more americans die as a result of overdoses in this country than americans who died in the war in vietnam. 64,000 americans died in our state, we're seeing an average of about 1,000 oklahomans die of drug overdoses. so that's an important priority for our office. we're taking it very seriously.
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and the commitment that we have is he people of our state that we want them to listen to evidence in our case, we're due to go to trial in may of 2019. we want to hold these companies accountable. is that's an overview of generally and specifically what we're focused on in our office. j.c.: thank you. i was going to highlight some of the area where republican a.g.'s and democratic a.g.'s take a different approachful but you prouth up the opioid issue, it's a national crisis, probably every -- 50 attorneys general, 51 with d.c., care about this issue, are trying to address the problem. so it's a burn issue. i'd be interested, leslie, i know you've been active on this with some education initiatives, i'd be interested in hearing about that. while there's a lot of consensus here are there also different approaches depending on party
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affiliation or is it -- or does it really matter? is it more dependent on your state and constituent interest? but i'd be interesting -- interested in what the different a i pretches -- approaches are in your states. leslie: the opioid epidemic is hitting across america. there's not a family or community that's not been impacted by this. in terms of what we're doing in arkansas, i too have sued opioid manufacturers, we chose to sue three manufactures, we also had a lawsuit by our cities and counties in arkansas who are -- who have named 65 defendants in their lawsuits. this is something that a.g.'s cross party lines quite frankly to combat. because whether it's a criminal or a bad business, this is something that attorneys general by and large, democrat or republican, realize that they have to do something to protect their communities. and so -- i think that's, we
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need to find opportunities in our work to be able to work together across the aisle. we don't have a republican attorney general in every single state. but what we do have in every single state is an opioid crisis. so it's imtertive -- imperative that mike and i work with our colleagues to share information and hold those individuals accountable. you mentioned some of the educational pieces and that's, perhaps, even though we're lawyers and we want to talk about the law, tippett encourage you all to clean out your medicine cabinets this saturday is national drug takeback day. you can find a police station, sheriff's office, wherever to clean out those medicine cabinets. most of the young people in your lives get their first prescription drugs from their parntse' or grandparents' medicine cabinets. while none of us can imagine taking prescription drugs, like taking our grandmother's nerve pill, that's what young people
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do. and so they do not -- drugs, prescription drugs do not increase in value sitting on your counter, sitting on your kitchen cabinet they do not increase in value sitting in your bathroom. clean those medicine cabinets out. that's my p.s.a. for today but it's very important. one in fourteens in my state admit they was take on shared prescription drugs. so this is -- and they are getting most of them from parents or grandparents. i see a lot of folks in this room that are parents or grandparents and now i know may be watching at home. so please take advantage of that but i'll toss it back to mike in terms of working together cohesively if there's different approaches. certainly we have to work with the plaintiffs bar on this issue. which makes some of us a little uncomfortable. we're not normally over there on that side of the aisle with the plaintiffs' bar. but it's imperative with work
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with the plaintiff's bar to go after bad actors in this regard. mike: this has been uncomfortable for me because my experience has been on the other side of these undertakings, representing financial services industries. so i will say we spent a lot of time reviewing this issue, we're convinced that it's the right place for our state to be. and when i chose a law firm i wanted not only as chief counsel or lead counsel lawyers that demonstrated skill and expertise in the courtroom and success, and i was able to identify two lawyers, one is a federal judge, former federal judge mike burrge and his law partner, and both of them are victims of the epidemic. judge burge lost his niece to an
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overdose. mr. witten's son, a great football player, injured, prescribed opioids, became addicted, lost his life to that addiction. in our state we're not just getting two great lawyers, we've got two great oklahomans who ant to make their loved ones deaths mean something. so that's an important data point i want to share with you. we focused in oklahoma on two other areas, not just litigation. we had a commission we stood up this past summer and fall we we made recommendations to the legislature to make sure that we had all the tools on the policy side of things that we needed to get a handle on the epidemic, to get people well, to give law enforcement more tools. i'm happy to report that it looks like everything we recommended on the legislative slide will be passed by our legislature and sent on to the governor.
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we're also getting tough on prescribers who are being reckless with their responsibilities to their patient. this past summer we actually charged a doctor with five counts of second degree murder. she -- we're pretty clear that 10 of her patients died as a result of her overprescribing. we've got good evidence on five, over a one-month period she provided three of her patients 4,000 pills. so that's been our approach to this issue. i will report, as leslie said, we've gotten very good collaboration with our democratic colleagues in these lawsuits. sharing information. sharing strategies. so it's a case study for how this ought to work, j.c. j.c.: thank you. let's switch back to some of the areas maybe there's more disagreement in the past where republicans were united in pushing back on the federal
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overreach, look at three signature obama issues, the affordable care act or ba macare, that passed the house and senate, mike, i know you ork thond a lot, a.b.a., and dodd-frank. i think you had three republican votes in the house and three in the senate supporting dodd-frank. it was 2,300 pages of legislation and if that wasn't enough, unprecedented delegation of authority to regulators, somewhere around 25,000 pages of regulation rule making out of dodd-frank. and just didn't sit well with a lot of states. cfpb create under title 10 of dodd frank. i know leslie and general hunter you have spoken about cfpb, an area that didn't get congressional support that the president wanted to move forward on in the environmental area, cap and trade bill, it failed. but where they failed in congress they decided to look at
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regulatory fee yaud to -- fiat to get things done. so boy, what a difference an election makes with the new leadership we have and pulling back on the federal reach that we've seen in the past. but the republican attorneys general were largely united on this issue, pushing back on what they saw as federal overreach. i'm going to start at the last section, our environmental issues and maybe ask dan to lead the discussion there. dan served two terms as attorney general in california. and i think 18 years in the house of representatives. was also chairman of the house administration committee and chairman of the cyber security subcommittee. done a lot of great things. i know you've been particularly interested and active on the climate issues, and just want to throw that one open, maybe, dan, to start with that. dan: that was a precise question.
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[laughter] one of the things you find out after all that nice introduction was that humility will hit you in the face. looked at the playbook here and they misspelled my game. that's ok because it reminds you that you're not as porn as you think you are. in the area of the environment and i would like to have a slightly different approach to this and ask you this. when i was attorney general we had the national -- we had national attorneys general association. or national association of aspiring governors, as they used to say. we didn't have democratic or republican separate organization. it was frustrating at times because we felt that oftentimes the staff in washington sort of
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took over the agenda. and the staff wasn't always looking to the republican view. and we had to go recapture it. so i'd be interested on the environmental issue and other issues, what is the role that versus the plays, republican attorneys general's association and the democratic attorneys general's association. the reason i ask that is we utilize the staff in washington of n.a.g. as a backstop and sometimes as a complement or a multiplier of force for us. how do you view those three organizations? do they assist you in coming together at times? and co-do they assist you in marking out essential differences in your approaches maybe to environmental issues such that it then allows you to define, well, these are areas
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where we can work together so n.a.g. can assist us. these are areas where we can't. and we have the other. i'd be interested in how that mechanism works because i think a lot of people who are dealing with your offices, dealing with those organizations need to have a road map as to how they approach them and particularly in the area of the environment where i think you might find a few places where you will work with your colleagues on the other side of the aisle in probably -- and probably more places where you take different approaches. loip -- leslie: as the chair of the republican attorneys general association, i'll kick off the answer. checked to tions, i make sure rutledge was spelled correctly and it was, you never know. so as the national association of attorneys general, n.a.g., name, terrible, terrible
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but that's an opportunity for all the attorneys general from the 50 states, district of columbia and the territories to come together and it's really focused on educational pieces and talking about consumer issues. however, depending on who the president of n.a.g. is, he or she directs the presidential initiative. this year we have the attorney general, derek schmitt from kansas who is the president of n.a.g. and he has led as part of his presidential initiative a -- talking about elder abuse which is something that happens sadly in every single state. next year the attorney general of louisiana, also a republican, will be the incoming president of n.a.g. and he will help set the ageneral ka. it's important for the president, the executive committee, of the organization to make sure all the attorneys
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general are part of also committees, talking about issues on committee, not just relying on staff. staff does a great job. when it comes to the democratic a.g.'s, i can't speak to what they do. i know they raise a heck of a lot less money than republican a.g.'s do because we have been crushing it because we got 30 race this is year so i'm going to brag on my team at the republican a.g.'s and what they have done. and over -- as we look at these 30 races, and that's what the political organizations are designed to do. political organizations, just like the republican congressional committee, the democratic congressional committee here in washington, d.c., are designed to focus on winning races. and the republican a.g.'s, we do have meetings. we collaborate, we share, we have a policy arm called the rule of law defense fund where we are able to share information with each other, talk about specific issues and policies, sit down together, however the organization itself is designed
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to elect republican attorneys general and that's what we're focused on. we've got big races this year. i know we've got people from across the country. we've got big races. we've got open seats in florida because pam bondi term limited. we've got an open seat there. michigan, where bill shutti is running for governor. colorado is an open seat. nevada, running for governor. and we have great candidates in all these seats. but that is predominantly our focus, making sure we maintain a majority of republican attorneys general. right now we have 28 republican a.g.'s across the country and it makes a difference when we're looking at amicus briefs or signing on to lawsuits. that's where the big shift comes in. as mike made a joke earlier about safety in numbers, being in a room full of our counselors, there's something to be said when you have 20 states sign on to a lawsuit, a new lawsuit against the affordable
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care act or you have 26 states having sued the environmental protection agency. that's why it's important to have colleagues like minded across the country that care about defending the rule of law. that's, i think, the difference in what we're seing in daga, the democratic attorneys general, and the republican attorneys general, is the sheer volume of a.g.'s that we represent and -- in our infrastructure whereas n.a.g., the national association, they send out a ton of amicus briefs for us to look at. that's what we spend a great deal of time looking at. sometime it's a 48-hour turnaround. how many attorneys in the room want to sign on to an amicus brief to the ninth circuit, any circuit, but particularly the ninth circuit. or the u.s. supreme court with less than a week turn around to have your top team look at it. but we do try to, we have great lawyers on our staff. that makes a world of difference, having really smart,
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talented attorneys general on staff. ith you. mike: i'm not sure long-term what we do with a po lairity that exists between democratic attorneys general and republican attorneys general. frankly, i don't think that there's anything new that occurs with regard to the approach that i and my republican colleagues take to the rule of law in judicial restraint. i guess i'm reminded and i promise i won't talk about the bible anymore, the parable of the fair see and the publy can from the book of luke. -- and the pubble can, from the book of -- of the publican from the book of luke. i was in sunday school, a little guy, my dad was an active republican. i'm listening to the sunday
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school lesson and the teacher concluded with the publican and the last line is, the publican is humble and shall be exalted. soy got in the car with dad after church and said guess what i learned in sunday school this morning. what's that, son? republicans are humble and will be exalted. the humility that needs to be employed with regard to the power and authority that resides in state attorneys general officer is -- ought to be a magnetic north for all of us. and the idea that we can use courts to make policy, to expand the interpretation of the constitution beyond what was ever imagined, either by the founding fathers or decades of american jurisprudence, is not something that i and my
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colleagues countenance. and unfortunately, we see that approach being exercised by our democratic colleagues who are attorneys general. so there's clearly po lairity there. there's clearly a conflict. but the republican attorneys general association, we think, is central to our ability and our objective, which is to ensure that the traditional approach to the rule of law is employed in this country. so as far as i'm concerned, at's the overriding, overarching principle that ties i and my colleagues together and certainly the approach of the association. j.c.: thank you, -- mike: thank you, dan. j.c.: dan, i want to point out they did get your name right on spelled holder, it's
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d-a-n. audience member: thank you very much. 27 years ago, i was involved in tobacco litigation. to me that was an outlier. not the sort of thing we did. to me that was subject matter best handled at the congressional level. and we made an effort, attorneys general working with the then-clinton administration, and ith some in the congress including senator mckinnon, chairman of the appropriate committee at that time, to see if we could have a federal view of this and do it legislatively. we failed. and so we maintained our effort on the combined states effort in the area of tobacco. that now is being used as a -- an example of how we ought to deal with a whole host of issues. and there are those that argue that the climate change issue is
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similar to the tobacco issue and therefore we ought to have lawsuits across the country. we ought to have multistate efforts on this. similarly with the opioid issue. it's often said, well this is like tobacco, therefore we should follow that i would wonder what your thoughts are on that. is the tobacco litigation an exemplar that ought to be followed in these areas? or are there distinct differences that may render a different approach appropriate? i'd particularly be interested in your ideas on the opioid issue and the climate change issue. mike: one of the theories being utilized, it's our approach principally in oklahoma to our claims against opioid
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manufacturers is public nuisance. but our approach and our design is that you have co; n -- cognizable damages to the state, verifiable injuries, sometimes deaths, that have occurred as a result of the false marketing, and the fraudulent inducement that occurred with regard to convincing prescribers that opioids weren't addictive. so i will contrast that as far as i'm concerned in a very black and white way with using public nuisance theory to sue energy companies on the basis of, with the motivation of establishing environmental policy. arguing that there's a public nuisance claim based on some theory that these companies are impacting the environment is, as far as we're concerned,
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misplaced, there's no precedent as far as we're concerned for employing public nuisance theory on that basis. i guess the first thing i would say is that it's -- it's absolutely inappropriate to use public nuisance theory to advance environmental policy. rather, when you've got evidence , again that we think is very strong, that there's been tajs to the people of your state, injuries, deaths, public nuisance theory is appropriate as a theory of recovery. with regard to the comparison to the tobacco litigation and opioid litigation occurring around the country, i think there's some similarities. i would say similar but not congruent. what we want in oklahoma is, we want these drugs to be prescribed only in very limited ways. very short time periods. we also want to recoup the damages that the state has
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suffered with regard to health care corrections, law enforcement, and then finally, we've got a lot of addicts, unfortunately, as a result of this. i think eight -- eight out of every 10, most studies show, eight of of every 10 opioid addicts began their addiction as a result of prescription drugs. so they need treatment and reha bill nation and the ability to, as part of this recovery, dedicate funding for treatment and rehabilitation in our state so we can get people well is as important a part of what we're seeking as anything. leslie? leslie: thank you, mike, thank you, dan. with regard to the master settlement agreement following the tobacco litigation, that has benefited states quite frankly as a result of those companies and their trade practices, how they marketed, how did the
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addictive nature of tobacco particularly for young people, what you all were able to accomplish in the master settlement agreement has really enabled states and particularly small states such as arkansas, we just negotiated part of our master settlement agreement this year, the state of arkansas will receive $57 million that money goes toward education, treatment and other programs to discourage individuals from tobacco use because of the dangers that we all now know. that are associated with tobacco. that being said, as, you know, we were looking at the opioid litigation, potential litigation, i think many of the aforementioned trial bar plaintiff bar saw states as this is the opportunity to have another major lawsuit. that could be multistate. so we were inundated, i know my
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state was inundated with attorneys and we interviewed 30-plus law firms to decide which law firm we were going to use that had the right expertise and the ability to work with my team in arkansas. on handle that litigation that goes back to the same premise on the opioid litigation we are suing the manufacturers, akin to the tobacco litigation in that how these prescription drugs were marketed and particularly how they were marketed to doctors whomp then prescribing them to us and our families as patients. many doctors, just like every other profession, here we sit as attorneys, collecting continued education hours, doctors are required to have a certain amount of continuing education. i'm sure they think they have continued legal education as well. but they're -- during those meetings, these companies, these
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manufacturers would send in their experts and would not, during these seminars, would talk about these drugs, encourage, you know, talk about the great things about them. however, they failed to disclose in our complaint, this is what we're alleging, that they failed to disclose the addictive nature they knew the drugs had. that's why you see the influx of doctors prescribing at such high rates like mike talked aboutialier, the doctors they're talking -- going after in oklahoma, such height high rates. that's why i think that, you know, these lawsuits are important, they're important to recoup for taxpayers in our states through medicaid funds, through taxpayer money that's been use. treatment, law enforcement, others. but it's important to differentiate between climate lawsuits and public nuisance theories because we do have climate lawsuits, this is
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something we've talked about recently, yesterday we were meating -- meeting with the national association of manufacturers on this issue, how you have very small groups who are litigious and suing even in jurisdictions. we're seing the same thing with our sanctuary city but in cities in your home state, representative lungren, of california which is, you know, one of the, we have a number of cities who are suing based on, you know, greenhouse gas emissions or climate change. they're attempting to set energy policy nationally for the rest of us. because what happens in those states, in california or in colorado, where the city of boulder also has brought forth the same sort of climate change issues, will impact those of us in arkansas or in j.c.'s home state of delaware. it will be coast-to-coast impact across energy policy and that's
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not where energy policy should be decided. energy policy should be decided in congress by those elected to represent the people of those states and those debates should happen at that level, and in and out -- should not happen by small jurisdictions suing and essentially settling with these companies that would impact all of us and just as we saw during president ba ma's administration, the sierra club was notorious for their sue and settle tactics. and they had a very warm ud audience at that time in the e.p.a. i'm certain that later today, hearing from administrator pruitt or individuals with the e.p.a. that, it's a much different audience that you'll hear from in terms of what they're doing at the e.p.a. and that note, i want to give kudos to my predecessor, scott pruitt, as administrator of the e.p.a. and president trump's
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administration for rolling back regulations. absolutely. [applause] that is something -- when most people think of the attorney general they do think about consume brother text, criminal justice, but they don't think about how we impact the ability to grow and create jobs in our individual states. and one of the things that we have done over the last several year as a.g.'s is pushing back on those regulations and it has been such a breath of fresh air to have president trump's administration not do for every one regulation, two out, but rather for every one regulation in, 22 regulations being trash canned, that's a true testament to the accomplishment of president trump and his dministration. >> could i ask you a further question on the opioids.
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dan: i've spent my whole political life fighting the abuse of drugs, prescription abuse and street drugs. how do you respond to the rhetoric by those that in the area of opioids that is a category of products that has been regulated by the federal government under the f.d.a. and that in many ways if you look at the classification of drugs, determinations are made with respect to the seriousness of them and the -- both the efficacious effects and the deleterious effects. and would not the argument that certain things, policy, should be decided at the federal level impact on the opioid argument number one, and number two, we see not only states bringing
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lawsuits, but municipalities. now i don't know what it is in your state, but in california we were able to, as the attorney general, to take over lawsuits from the municipalities and do it on behalf of all the people. nd that normally would get the subject matter determined earlier, but honestly on the other side of it, those who you were taking action against often welcomed that because they had a single lawsuit that was going to be involved with whatever the decision was made that would affect all people and they wouldn't have a number of them. so in terms of the opioid issue, how do you view it in terms of municipalities as po posed to the state and number two, the argue that -- argument that some would bring up that well, of all the things that have been regulated, drugs have been regulated by the federal government for at least 100 year, shouldn't that be the proper arena to take care of hat problem?
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mike: it is true that the f.d.a. nctioned much of the distribution that occurred with regard to opioids. our research which has been assiduous, indicates that they missed it. like as i said earlier, sometimes businesses do bad things, make mistakes, the f.d.a. missed it big time on opioids. so as a general principle, i agree with what you're saying, but in this case, it's an ample of a federal oversight really missing the bet in a very profound fashion. in oklahoma, we've attempted to, i guess, appeal to the better angels of municipalities and
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county's nature. we think that our lawsuit on behalf of the state and all governmental subdivisions is the best way to proceed. we, i think we've got one county that has hired a firm. the unique benefit that we've got proceeding at the state level and in state court, we're not going to be in federal court is that the state is able to advance joint and several liability gerns the defendants in our lawsuit. and if governmental subdivisions o separately, they'll at least join several liability. that's biggest incentive we have in oklahoma to keep everybody in the state's lawsuit. leslie: thank you. in arkansas as i mentioned we have a state lawsuit. we also have a lawsuit led by almost all 75 of arkansas' counties as well as some of our municipalities. and we are hopeful that both of those lawsuits will be successful. it's very likely that the
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counties and cities will unfortunately be pulled into a federal jurisdiction, into multidistrict litigation. however a number of these cities and counties felt compelled to hire counsel, to work together, we have had conversations with them, working collaboratively with them. however fre the state standpoint we have to keep our lawsuit separate to keep it in state court, there's only certainly claims that is as attorney general i can make on behalf of arkansans, being the deceptive trade practices act which is what i mentioned earlier in terms of how the manufacturers did not fully disclose the addictive nature of these drugs. but also under our medicaid false claims act that the attorney general must bring those claims and they must be brought in certain jurisdictions in the state.
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one being in the county that -- where our capital, little rock, is, or in a county where one of the defendants has -- resides. unfortunately for the cities and counties and their lawsuit, nine of the defendants sued in another county outside the city's county and noiven residents reside in the county where they filed lawsuits. it will prohibit me from being part of in a lawsuit. if i did i would have to forego potentially millions of dollars of claims for arkansans that being said, we are hopeful again that both of these lawsuits are successful. in terms of making sure that arkansasians are fully, are made whole to the extent they can. unfortunately we can't go back and give those mama and daddies their children back. we can't go back and replace the amount of time that families have lost battling this addiction.
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addictions don't just impact the individual. they impact the entire family. and it becomes an absolute nightmare for families who go through living with someone with an addiction. battling. particularly parents, a child who is past the age of 18, having access to their health records and working with them to get the treatment they need. we're hopeful both of those lawsuits will be successful. know s of the opioid, i congress is looking at a number of ways to now regulate it. i think many of us, someone said well this has been regulated but government makes mistakes. i know that's a shock to you all. and federal government makes mistakes. have i realize that we secretary costa coming up next, he has not made any mistakes, just to be clear.
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but the federal government does and we've got some -- our representative from my home state of arkansas, u.s. senator tom cotton who has take an hardline approach, particularly with regard to fentanyl because we are seeing such an increase in fentanyl, synthetic fentanyl being mailed into the united states, how dangerous it is, such a small amount of fentanyl can wipe out an entire community. i'm not saying a small amount that's the size of this table. i'm talking about a small amount that's less than what is in this glass. can wipe out an entire community, the po tency of fentanyl and u.s. attorney attorney general jeff sessions has take an hard line approach. i think the federal government has finally woken up and certainly the administration has but it's woken up to the dangers of this problem and hopefully through some -- not litigation, that was a freudian slip, some legislation, let me get that correct, that through some
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legislation that we will see being able to curb the number of prescriptions available to individuals as well as the po tency levels that we're seeing and increasing the criminal punishment for individuals who are putting fentanyl out into the streets and killing individuals. j.c.: we've got about 10 minutes left. at the start of the discussion i promised everybody an opportunity to raise questions if they have any. so why don't i open it up. there's a microphone over here f you have a question. dennis, we'll get you next. >> thank you. we have a rather serious issue going on in new york state. i'm former deputy attorney general for new york. our current attorney general, eric snyderman, is chomping at the bit to be able to prosecute the president of the united states out of the same predicate acts that the special counsel is
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looking at. presently under new york state law it is new york state law, it is not allowed to go after and prosecute contemporaneously with the federal government. that is viewed under new york state law as double jeopardy, even though under other states it is not. we have the republican senate under one vote who is preventing back him up he is desperately trying to put these 900 lawyers and the department while out to the investigation, the president, and the prosecution of them, irrespective of whatever happens with the federal investigation. is there anything we can do, or somehrough n.a.g. other mechanism, to try to bring justice? .,slie: nothing through n.a.g
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because that is bipartisan, educational. however, it sounds like you want to run for attorney general of new york. [laughter] leslie: and will be soliciting contributions here. that is really -- unless there is opportunity for us to file of amicus brief, please keep us informed. and again, the republican attorneys general, we have a policy on the rule of law and defense fund. hascolleague in new york most ofte the bur in our saddles over the last year or two, and i would invite any comments or thoughts particularly with regard to when inor ag sbecerra california are stepping outside the role of what should be the
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attorney. we experience the rule of law butattorney general, unfortunately, some of our colleagues have made it much more policy oriented, politically driven, in terms of when they file it lawsuit. >> i want to point out that adam pfeiffer sitting at your table is the president of the rule of law fund. i saw dennis kurt with his hand of. >> i will say briefly with regard to your query that has attorneys general, we have to subscribe to oats to both the state constitution and the federal constitution. in federalidence courts that will determine whether or not he has any jurisdiction, and it seems to me, it is hard to conjure up any theory under which new york state law has been violated by the president. >> as an outdoor sportsmen, hunter fishman, i like to go all over the united states. i have right to carry.
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there is policy about each state's right to carry and how you all look down on that. comee: you are welcome to in arkansas at any time, and john rider comes across from memphis to duck hunt. we welcome hunters and outdoorsmen, fishermen, from across the country. in terms of open carry, reciprocity, i do not know if that was your question, dennis, concealed carry, yes. we welcome. >> with a name like mike hunter, i think we know the answer. [applause] [laughter] mike: are you arguing that the full faith and credit clause under the united states constitution must apply here? >> thank you. yes, sir. >> yes, i am participating in
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legislation in the state of florida on behalf of counties and municipalities, so attorney general's hunter and rutledge, specifically, we also are filing in state court, and we are filing in florida under the florida state deceptive trade practices act. we want to keep it from multi district litigation. how are you, when you file in state court, attempting to prevent, and what is your methodology of preventing the approval. very important litigation, obviously. ike: with regard to oklahoma, guess a little bit of strategically as well as some luck. i think the companies were not paying very close attention to our lawsuit, and they wanted an extension to their answer period , and that was the condition upon which we allowed them to
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extend their answer. but i want to be clear, in oklahoma, i have the authority, as dan described, to take over lawsuits where state's interests are at issue, but the commitment i have made two subdivisions as i will not exercise that authority. i want counties and cities to be in our lawsuit, because it is in their interest. we have lawsuits with counties, they are discussions based on collaboration, not coercion. as i previously mentioned, in arkansas, we have manufacturers at this point, and based on our arkansas deceptive trade practices act as well as cities andaud, counties may not be able to retain jurisdiction in state court. we are hopeful that they will. i would do you to their outside counsel as to what their strategy is.
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i would be happy to share that with you afterwards. >> the secretary has arrived, so why don't we just wrap up any kind of concluding remarks that you may have. i assume both of you think this is the best job you have ever had, some highs and lows, but after you have served in your respective states, leslie, i noted on your website, trying to make the arkansas attorney general's office kind of the lead law firm for the state, so if you are a lawyer and want a great job -- you may not get paid the most working for the state, but you have the opportunity to make a difference. general hunter, i am sure you are doing the same thing in the state of oklahoma, and general lundgren, i know you did that in california, the opportunity for young lawyers, maybe more senior lawyers to serve in capacity. in a final remarks for either
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one of you -- any final remarks for either one of you? mike: here is my shakespeare. o, it is excellent to have the strength of a giant, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant. i love shakespeare. that is a line i remind basis.of on a frequent the state attorneys general office is significant almost beyond measure, making decisions about who to prosecute, who not to prosecute, who to sue. the advice you give on a daily basis to the governor, to the legislature, to state agencies -- that is a lot of responsibility. have alwayseys, i felt, to leadership, is to be able to surround yourself with people who are smarter and more talented than you are.
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-- ijust really blessed have to pinch myself on a daily basis at the talent that we have in our office. great lawyers, great public servants, and great oklahomans. were it not for that team, we would not have been able to experience the success we have had in the short time i have been ag, so i wanted to give a team backt out to my in oklahoma jc. generalthank you, jc, and the national policy center for inviting me. being on attorney general is the best job i've ever had, because you are going after bad guys. you are upholding the rule of law, helping to create opportunity for folks in your home state and across the country, and so it is extraordinarily rewarding. i sleep very well overnight
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knowing that we have done everything we can to protect the people in my home state. i do encourage them if you have any lawsuits, for folks who want to come clerk, work at the arkansas attorney general's office. we created the office of solicitor general. sgy of you have known my over the years, and he has a team now of two other attorneys working with him. it makes a difference to have the top law firm in the state and those leading the legal strategy. mike out, i feel like we are going to pass the plate for a minute, but i am going to quote from the good book here. as republican lawyers, first let me say thank you. the ones who being are ready on election day and leading up to election day, republican ag,e we put a lot of time, effort, and resources into the attorney general's race. sadly, we did not have the
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were hoping for, but when i walked into the war room of lawyers and saw the many faces that i knew and had worked for over the years, those are the folks that being ready on election night, who are not sitting on the watch party -- 7:00 p.m., james comey will be live on book tv on c-span2 on primetime with his best-selling autobiography "i . he will discuss several issues he faced as fbi director coming to the russian investigation, hillary clinton seamounts, and his use on president trump. watch james comey live on book in primetime tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern. tonight on "landmark cases," the unitedmes v. states, better known as the pentagon papers case.
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militarythe former analyst daniel ellsberg released the pentagon study to the "new york times" and the "washington post." the supreme court restricted and brought in journalists' first amendment protections. topof the nation's litigator/floyd abrams represented the "new york times," and ted olson, a former solicitor general under president george w. bush. tonightandmark cases" at 9:00 :00 eastern on c-span and join the conversation. iser hash -- our hashtag #landmarkcases. we also have the "landmark cases" companion book. and the landmark cases podcasts at >> israel's prime minister says his government has obtained half
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a town of secret iranian documents, proving the toronto government once had a nuclear weapons program. theamin netanyahu says document shows iran lied about its nuclear ambitions before signing a 2015 deal with world powers. president trump is to decide by may 12 whether to pull out of the national deal with tehran. here is prime minister netanyahu. pm netanyahu: you may well know that i ran leaders repeatedly denied ever pursuing nuclear weapons. you can listen to iran's supreme leader. >> i stress that the islamic republic has never been after nuclear weapons. pm netanyahu: you can listen to hassan rouhani. pres.


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