ON-Lion Letter
The nation's worst state attorneys general abuse the power of their office for political ends, undermining the rule of law.  In recent years, many state attorneys general have "increasingly usurped the roles of state legislatures and Congress by using lawsuits to impose interstate and national regulations and extract money from out-of-state defendants who have little voice in a state's political processes," Hans Bader explains in a July study from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in Washington, D.C.

According to Bader's The Nation's Worst State Attorneys General, the six state attorneys general who are the worst in the nation are:  Jerry Brown of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Drew Edmondson of Oklahoma, Patrick Lynch of Rhode Island, Darrell McGraw of West Virginia, and William Sorrell of Vermont.

Bader is a senior attorney and counsel for special projects at CEI, which is supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Brown tops Bader's list for repeatedly refusing to defend state laws he disliked.  One example was Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage (but not civil unions).  This constitutional provision was upheld by the state Supreme Court, which rejected Brown's argument that it violated the state constitution.

Blumenthal, who scores second worst on the list, had occupied the top spot in CEI's previous ratings, in 2007.  Blumenthal hasn't gotten any better since then, Bader notes, but the competition for worst has gotten fiercer.

The study uses several criteria for determining who makes the list:  ethical breaches and selective applications of the law; fabricating law, usurping legislative powers; and predatory practices (such as seeking to regulate out-of-state businesses that broke no state law).
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