Hitting the Ground Running

Nevada's new attorney general joins the fight against Obama's immigration policy. 

 By Hans A. von Spakovsky

ust weeks into his tenure as Nevada’s new Republican attorney general, Adam Laxalt has boldly joined 25 other state attorneys general in a lawsuit claiming that President Obama’s immigration plan is both unconstitutional and a violation of federal law. Laxalt’s decision to join the lawsuit flies in the face of opposition from the state’s popular Republican governor, Brian Sandoval. But under Nevada law, Laxalt needs neither Sandoval’s approval nor his permission, and Sandoval’s criticism of the legal action seems short-sighted.

Nevada law gives Laxalt wide latitude to determine the state’s best interests in filing or joining lawsuits. Under Article 5, Section 22 of the Nevada Constitution, the duties of the attorney general are those “as may be prescribed by law.” The state legislature has prescribed that “[w]henever the Governor directs or when, in the opinion of the Attorney General, to protect and secure the interest of the State it is necessary that a suit be commenced or defended in any federal or state court, the Attorney General shall commence the action or make the defense” (NRS 228.170).

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