The Arizona Republic’s understated endorsement of Felecia Rotellini for Attorney General


Felicia-RThe editors of The Arizona Republic today endorsed Democratic candidate Felecia Rotellini for Attorney General, but the editors mislead voters by asserting that it’s “a close call,” the “differences are ones of degree and style, and they all break toward the same candidate,” Felecia Rotellini. In close call, Rotellini for Arizona attorney general.

This is a classic example of coming to the right conclusion after a deeply flawed analysis.

A “close call”? Seriously? This should have been an unqualified endorsement of Felecia Rotellini that dismissed her opponent as just more of the same under Tom Horne.

I previously posted in Better Know a Candidate: Mark ‘I’d like to buy a vowel Brnovich:

There is a report in the Arizona Republic today which posits AG candidate Brnovich’s pitch: I’m not Horne. If he means that he has not been caught canoodling with a mistress, and is not currently under four separate investigations for campaign finance law violations, then yes, Brnovich is not Tommy Boy.

But on the issues and how each man would politicize the AG’s office to pursue a right-wing ideological agenda (not part of the job description for the attorney general’s office by the way), there is not one iota of difference between the two candidates.

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Tenther “states’ rights!” litigation

Brnovich: He also says he will aggressively defend state sovereignty (“states’ right!”) against federal overreach. He told the Lake Havasu News:

[H]e would do a better job than Horne of fighting against, what he calls, “federal overreach.” “(Our attorney general) has to make sure we’re asserting our rights under the 10th Amendment,” Brnovich said. “Radicals in the Obama administration are imposing on our state sovereignty.”

Specifically, Brnovich pointed to the federal government’s efforts to discourage coal production and usage, which, he said, hurts Arizonans. “If EPA rules and regulations (encroach on state’s rights), you’ve got to be suing them,” Brnovich said. “The left has been doing that for decades, using the courts to fight battles.”

Neither one of these Neo-Confederate “Tenther” dead-enders has heard of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution or the 14th Amendment, despite their legal education and training. And the U.S. Supreme Court upheld those EPA regulations by the way.

Women’s Reproductive Rights

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Brnovich: Says he will “wield the sword of justice” to protect and defend the vulnerable such as the unborn. On his campaign web site he says “We also have an obligation to protect and defend our laws that concern the unborn. I am proud to be endorsed by the Arizona Right to Life PAC and named as the “only pro-life candidate in the Attorney General race.

In other words, both candidates will politicize the AG’s office to pursue the anti-abortion crusade of CAP and the Alliance Defending Freedom to overturn Roe v. Wade. Defending the constitutional reproductive rights of adult women, not so much.

Women’s equal access to contraception under health insurance

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Brnovich: Visiting the nation’s capital just a few days before the Supreme Court would hear oral arguments in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, Brnovich told National Review Online in an interview:

Brnovich returns to the issue of religious liberty, emphasizing that if we lost it, we would be losing something fundamental. “Just because you open your business to the public doesn’t mean the public has the right to run your business,” Brnovich says. “Just because you have a restaurant doesn’t mean it becomes public property.”

So for Brnovich, the “religious liberty” in Hobby Lobby was more than a religious objection to birth control. He was indirectly alluding to SB 1062 (.pdf), the Religious Bigotry Bill that was roiling Arizona politics at the time.

Discrimination against LGBT persons in employment and public accommodations

As I  explained at the time, SB 1062 would permit more than “hatin’ on the gays” by religious bigots. The language of the bill would allow for discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex and religion in public accommodations simply by invoking the “magic words” that it is “my sincerely held religious beliefs.” This is a “get out of jail free card” for compliance with civil rights laws based upon the mere assertion of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

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Brnovich: His use of the restaurant example in his National Review interview above indicates that he is OK with discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of race, national origin, and sex — as well as sexual orientation.

This is a serious problem, because the Attorney General’s Office has enforcement jurisdiction over the Arizona Civil Rights Act (ACRA) for discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing. Brnovich is intimating that he supports a “get out of jail free card” for compliance with these civil rights laws based upon the mere assertion of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Marriage Equality in Arizona

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Brnovich: I do not find a specific statement from Brnovich on marriage equality, but given his positions on “religious liberty” and “state sovereignty” against federal overreach (this time by the federal courts), I have to assume he would do exactly as Tom Horne.

Immigration Laws

Brnovich: On his campaign web site he says “Whether that be protecting our voter ID laws or ensuring programs like E-Verify are adhered to, we need to make sure our immigration laws are respected and enforced. I am against amnesty and support law and order. I am the only candidate for Attorney General who has supported Governor Brewer’s Executive Order banning driver licenses being issued to illegal aliens.”

Like I said, there is not one iota of difference between these candidates. Tommy Boy is still raising and spending more money than Brnovich and he still has the support of right-wing hardliners.

UPDATE: The Center for Arizona Policy now has its AZ Voter Guide for the 2014 primary online. Here is the questionnaire and responses of:

Mark Brnovich – Answers and explanations (he is definitely a CAP candidate)

Craig McDermot posted about his concern about Investigative journalism: Republican AG candidate Mark and his ties to private prison corporation CCA.

And I have said before that Brnovich’s previous employment as head of the conservative Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Government think tank “is an automatic disqualifier for me.” Simple rule: anyone who is now or who has ever been employed by the “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, should never hold public office. Period.

The editors’ focus on style over substance does not serve voters well.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


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