Former Mo. AG Simon: State attorneys general “courageous” for challenging Dodd-Frank

Ammon Simon

Last month, three states joined in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, demonstrating the role of state attorneys general in pushback against the federal government.

Ammon Simon, policy counsel at the Judicial Crisis Network and the former assistant attorney general of Missouri, however, criticized Indiana’s Republican Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who said that Republican-only challenges to the legislation “hurts our credibility in challenging federal laws.”

“Mr. Zoeller believes that his point is validated by the result of the Obamacare litigation, which he joined,” Simon said, according to The Washington Times. “It is pretty silly for Mr. Zoeller to suggest that…[Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.]’s troubled opinion had anything to do with the partisan breakdown of attorneys general who joined the litigation. The allotment of six hours of oral arguments over three days demonstrates that the court took the case extremely seriously.”

Simon also cited a survey that found that 68 percent of respondents, including 48 percent of Democrats, thought that the court should strike down Obamacare and pointed to five justices who found the mandate unauthorized under the Commerce Clause.

Additionally, Simon said that the challenge to Dodd-Frank is equally serious.

“Dodd-Frank’s [impact] is intensified by an unconstitutional regulatory structure,” Simon said, The Washington Times reports. “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau grants its director czar-like power, combining the authority with little legislative, executive or judicial oversight. Similarly, Dodd-Frank’s Orderly Liquidation Authority authorizes unaccountable corporate death panels, which are unrestrained by meaningful judicial scrutiny, while the Financial Stability Oversight Council has unchecked power to define ‘too big to fail.’ In each instance, Dodd-Frank ignores our Constitution’s mandate for separation of power into three branches of government, housing it instead in one unaccountable agency.”

Simon said that the structure of the U.S. constitution provides a remedy to the problems.

“If states sat around waiting for President Obama’s political allies to embrace that structure and join such lawsuits, they would never happen,” Simon said, according to The Washington Times.

Simon added that Zoeller’s standard “would give partisan attorneys general the ability to veto very important disputes over the meaning of our Constitution and its limits on federal authority.”

“I think his real objection to the Dodd-Frank challenge is political, not substantive,” Simon said, The Washington Times reports. “If joining such a lawsuit is inconsistent with his re-election strategy or if he has strong alliances with Wall Street banks that oppose the litigation, then he should say so. What he shouldn’t do is insult the motives or intelligence of the courageous attorneys general who did choose to challenge the Obama administration on Dodd-Frank.”

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