by ED MORRISSEY
Suspending the Constitution is all fun and games until you look around and even your allies won’t return your calls. Such is life at the moment for Emperor Michelle I of New Mexico, formerly known as Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who thought she could score some virtue-signaling points on the cheap at the expense of law-abiding gun owners. The Emperor and the state now face a slew of lawsuits seeking federal intervention to enforce the US Constitution and punitive measures against a tinpot dictator who claims her oath to the Constitution is “not absolute.”
Late yesterday, the emperor discovered that she had no legal clothes — or at least no legal cover. Attorney General and fellow Democrat Raúl Torrez informed Lujan Grisham that he will refuse to represent her office and the state in these lawsuits, proclaiming that he takes his oath to the Constitution more seriously:
In a letter to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) regarding four impending lawsuit cases, Torrez shared the same sentiments from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and law enforcement, saying the ban violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.
“Though I recognize my statutory obligation as New Mexico’s chief legal officer to defend state officials when they are sued in their official capacity, my duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen takes precedence,” Torrez wrote. “Simply put, I do not believe that the Emergency Order will have any meaningful impact on public safety but, more importantly, I do not believe it passes constitutional muster.” …
“While I understand that frustration may have led you to undertake a unilateral approach to addressing the heart-wrenching challenge of gun violence in our community, I urge you to reconsider this course of action,” Torrez wrote.
This prompts a serious question about Lujan Grisham: Did she even bother to check with her allies and legal experts about this move before announcing the suspension of constitutional rights? Bernalillo County sheriff John Allen alluded to talks held with local Albuquerque police, his office, and the governor’s team prior to the announcement and said he’d warned them not to do it. Did no one think to pick up the phone and talk to the ally and the one state official that would have to defend this in court, or did Torrez also warn Lujan Grisham not to proceed?
Torrez’ announcement yesterday makes it appear that Lujan Grisham cowboyed this one from the beginning. But it’s not just the lack of political cover that Torrez’ refusal makes plain and public. Under normal circumstances, the AG and his office would represent the state even in losing causes. By refusing to do so, Torrez leaves Lujan Grisham without an attorney to fight these lawsuits.
And even worse, Torrez’ declaration will certainly enter the court record via the plaintiffs. That makes finding an attorney to take this case on behalf of the state even more problematic. First off, what attorney wants to go on record as having told a federal judge that fealty to the US Constitution is optional? And second, good luck finding an attorney with any enthusiasm when the state AG has already declared that the plaintiffs are right and refuses to take the case on principle on the basis that Lujan Grisham is violating her oath of office.