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Morrisey leads six-state letter to President Biden

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey led a six-state coalition writing that state attorneys general will be vigilant in watching for and opposing federal overreach, especially when such action puts jobs and civil liberties at risk.

The letter, sent Wednesday, encourages the newly sworn President to be mindful of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers and the authority of sovereign states relative to that of the federal government.

Should the new administration govern in a manner inconsistent with those tenets, the attorneys general contend it will be their responsibility and duty to challenge the administration’s actions in court.

“The President cannot cut constitutional corners or shirk statutory strictures without inevitably doing more harm to our country than good,” Morrisey led in writing. “The foundations of our republic and American life are embedded within our Constitution’s carefully crafted design. Accordingly, today by this letter we respectfully urge you when pursuing your policy priorities to honor the core constitutional tenets which should be appreciated and respected by every person entrusted with the honor and burdens of the presidency.”

Standing up against federal overreach is familiar ground for West Virginia.

Morrisey successfully blocked former President Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule, continuing involvement in efforts that led to the repeal of both items, thus saving an untold number of jobs.

The coalition’s letter urges the new administration to respect individual constitutional rights, as well as limited federal power, limited presidential power and the need for keeping the administrative state in check.

The attorneys general note particular concern for the constitutionally guaranteed rights to religious liberty and to keep and bear arms. With regard to limited federal power, they contend the Constitution delegates a very limited sphere of influence to the federal government and leaves the remainder for states and their citizens to address.

While recognizing the executive branch has much power, the coalition writes the Constitution limits a president’s authority to bypass Congress. It also notes various federal laws require the president to constrain his executive agencies.

West Virginia led the letter with support from attorneys general in Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana and Texas.

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