Josiah Bartlett Center - AG Nullification of Duty Threatens State Government

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AG Nullification of Duty Threatens State Government

The Attorney General’s refusal to defend state law, if allowed to stand, would rewrite state law and create an untenable secondary veto power in an appointed office. The “duty to defend” should itself be defended. The issues involved have little to do with one additional education funding lawsuit and everything to do with the balance of powers in state government.

Two weeks ago, the Attorney General Joe Foster’s office announced that it would refuse to defend the state law on education in the face of a challenge by the city of Dover. Dover is challenging the limits on the rate of increase in a town’s aid — limits that have existed since the law, co-sponsored by then- Sen. Joe Foster, was passed in 2008.

Foster told the press last week that his office “could not find a defense we felt was meritorious.” That this sentiment is the complete opposite of the opinion he had as a state senator is curious, but not the point of the current column. Click here to keep reading.