Tag Archives: Federalism

A Question For Wes Duncan, Candidate for NV Attorney General

And a question for GOP candidates for the same office in other states… Do you agree with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in regard to his amicus brief in Gamble v. US?

“The Utah lawmaker Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, filed a 44-page amicus brief earlier this month in Gamble v. United States, a case that will consider whether the dual-sovereignty doctrine should be put to rest. The 150-year-old exception to the Fifth Amendment’s double-jeopardy clause allows state and federal courts to prosecute the same person for the same criminal offense. According to the brief he filed on September 11, Hatch believes the doctrine should be overturned. “The extensive federalization of criminal law has rendered ineffective the federalist underpinnings of the dual sovereignty doctrine,” his brief reads. “And its persistence impairs full realization of the Double Jeopardy Clause’s liberty protections.” [Atlantic]

So what on earth does an Alabama robbery conviction have to do with Trump, and the Mueller investigation?  Consider for just a moment the implications of overturning the dual sovereignty doctrine — essential to our federal system.

To adopt Hatch’s perspective is to (1) Allow the reach of Trump’s pardons to extend to the state level.  Are you listening New York prosecutors?  Are you listening any other state prosecutors who find evidence of conspiracy to defraud the voters in your state by foreign adversaries with the assistance of US citizens?  (2) Close the “escape hatch” by which if Trump were to disrupt, dismantle, or otherwise interrupt the Mueller investigation and prosecutions those could be handed off to state courts.

Thus, and here’s a hypothetical which isn’t too far out of line, what if it comes to pass that the state of Nevada determines our voter registration database has been breached and tampered with?  What if this breach may be rationally argued to have distorted the result of an election for a federal office?  What if the aforementioned breach and subsequent distortion can be reasonably argued to have been the result of a conspiracy between foreign actors and US citizens?   Then could (under the terms of Hatch’s argument) the Attorney General of the State (of Nevada) be precluded from prosecuting the case? (Should a person already have received a presidential pardon.)  Could the President issue a pardon extending to anyone convicted in a Nevada court for this criminal conspiracy?

First, read the amicus brief filed by Senator Hatch. (Word file) Secondly, read the full article in the Atlantic magazine.  Third, get ready to ask candidates Ford and Duncan how they see this matter. 

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