In a recent interview with KLAS’ Steve Sebelius, Republican attorney general candidate Wes Duncan was asked if he would continue the pattern of zealously involving the state in partisan litigation that current Republican attorney general Adam Laxalt has become known for. Duncan is seeking to replace Laxalt, who’s vacating the office to run for governor.
Sebelius: Your [would-be] predecessor in this office, Adam Laxalt, was known for either initiating or maybe joining lawsuits that have been filed against the federal government over a wide variety of issues — environmental issues, immigration issues, things of that nature. Is that something that you would do as well, or would you be more judicious in how you affiliated the state in terms of litigation?
Duncan: Well, I think for me, the threshold question is always going to be, first, is there a Nevada interest at stake? And so I’m going to find out whether or not I think there’s a Nevada interest at stake and then proceed with litigation on that. Where there’s not a Nevada interest at stake, I’ll likely probably not have the state embroiled in litigation, just because of resources and all of those things.
Laxalt has built a reputation engaging the state in costly legal battles to further his partisan agenda, regardless of whether or not there was a “Nevada interest at stake.” Here are just a few examples of Laxalt’s litigation that did not meet Duncan’s threshold. Can Nevadans expect Duncan to continue Laxalt’s pattern?
- In 2015, while Duncan was working in the attorney general’s office, Laxalt sued to block Pres. Obama’s executive actions on immigration, arguing in favor of ripping countless families apart. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval condemned Laxalt’s lawsuit, saying it wasn’t “the best course of action.”
- In 2016, also while Duncan was working for him, Laxalt joined a lawsuit in support of reinstating a Mississippi law that was struck down for discriminating against LGBT people. The law allowed for government employees and businesses to discriminate against LGBT people, and even fire them.
- In 2018, Laxalt has added Nevada to two different court cases in support of efforts in other states to restrict women’s access to abortion. He joined a U.S. Supreme Court case on a California law in defense of fake clinics that intimidate and mislead women to dissuade them from exercising their right to choose. He also quietly added Nevada to a lawsuit supporting an “unduly burdensome” Texas abortion ban without consulting Gov. Sandoval.
Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Helen Kalla released the following statement:
“Wes Duncan has pledged to continue Adam Laxalt’s legacy if elected attorney general, a legacy of embroiling Nevada in costly litigation for the sole purpose of advancing a partisan agenda. Laxalt’s decisions to join these lawsuits clearly fail Duncan’s ‘threshold question.’ Duncan owes Nevadans an answer on whether he agrees with Laxalt’s use of the attorney general’s office to push his zealous far-right crusade and can be expected to continue the same behavior.”