Separation of Powers 101, or Stormont Wants to Be a Legislator

Capitol at night
Separation of Powers 101, or Stormant Wants to Be a Legislator reporter Bryan Schott interviews Charles Stormant.

Two hundred and fifty years after the US Constitution took Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws seriously and separated the executive, legislative and judicial functions, some still want to be everything.

Take for example, Charles Stormont, the Utah Democratic candidate for Attorney General. A Texas transplant to Utah, his campaign platform sounds not unlike someone who wants to impose Texas justice on every policy he can get his hands on.

He doesn’t like Utah’s ethics laws, the three ethics committees and processes already in the Attorney General’s office, or the people who current Attorney General Sean Reyes has staffed them with, so he attacks the Utah Legislature for “window dressing” ethics.

“It’s low-hanging fruit to talk about ethics but, still, nothing happens,” [Stormont] says. “We can create a state ethics model that has independence. It’s so long-overdue in Utah. The Legislature has put in some ‘window dressing’ by creating committees that don’t have investigatory or prosecutorial authority.”

Stormont also doesn’t like Utah’s Amendment 3 or want to defend the law to the Supreme Court, so he’ll go ahead and kill that, too. Never mind that not only Utah’s Governor, Legislature, and public want a Supreme Court decision on the topic, but that the plaintiffs in Kitchen v. Herbert want a Supreme Court ruling, as well.

Stormont will storm right through, assume veto power neither the United States nor Utah Constitutions give him, and kill the appeal.

Because, you know, it costs too much to get a final answer on a topic that would, on one hand, totally change the definition of marriage or, on the other hand, is seen as a civil rights issue by its proponents.

But save the money, folks: Stormont knows better. Not only that, he wants to do it all from the Attorney General’s office:

  • Make law–just like the Utah Legislature
  • Veto Utah laws–just like the Governor
  • And rule on what is constitutional–just like the courts.

Charles “Stormin'” Stormont: because we don’t need a separation of powers.

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