Rutledge Praises EPA for Rescinding WOTUS RuleTue, Jun 27, 2017
Big win for Arkansas landowners
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today praised the action of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt for rescinding the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.
"The full rescindment of this unlawful rule is a big win for Arkansas landowners," said Attorney General Rutledge. "WOTUS has been enjoined because of the work of attorneys general, and today's action shows a clear signal that the EPA is returning to its core mission. I look forward to working with the agency as it works to draft a new, lawful rule that protects our waters and does not harm our farmers and ranchers, who continue to be the first conservationists."
In February, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review the WOTUS rule, begin efforts to rescind or significantly revise the regulation and take appropriate steps in ongoing litigation. Rutledge and a bi-partisan coalition of 19 other attorneys general sent a letter last week to the EPA as part of the review urging the EPA to preserve the role of the states in protecting the nation’s waters.
Rutledge was part of a coalition that helped secure a nationwide injunction in August 2015, blocking enforcement of the rule, which allowed the new administration to review the rule.
Rutledge testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in March 2015 urging the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the rule because of the negative impact it would have on Arkansas farmers. In 2012, agriculture added $20.1 billion to the Arkansas economy, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
The rule was issued in June 2015 and allowed the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to assert federal authority over a vast number of small bodies of water, roadside ditches, short-lived streams and any other area where water may flow once every 100 years.
Rutledge Statement on High Court’s Decision on President’s Authority to Temporarily Suspend Entry of Non-CitizensMon, Jun 26, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case concerning the constitutionality of the President’s authority to temporarily suspend entry of non-citizens, as well as granting a stay of a large portion of the injunction. Rutledge had urged the justices to grant a stay and ultimately reverse the 4th and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals injunctions of the President’s revised executive order.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has largely affirmed the President’s authority to protect the American people from those who might slip through the cracks of poor vetting in our current immigration system,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am very pleased that the Court stayed significant portions of the injunctions issued by the lower courts and agreed to hear this critically important national security case.”
The high court agreed to hear the arguments on the temporary travel ban at the start of the fall term. In the meantime, nonresident aliens applying for visas who have never been to the U.S. or have no family, business or other ties may be prohibited from entry into the country.
Rutledge Statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Religious Liberty CaseMon, Jun 26, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling today that sided with Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, and affirmed religious institutions should be eligible to receive funds for secular purposes.
“This important decision clarifies that no state can bar a religious organization from an available state-benefit program exclusively based on religion,” said Attorney General Rutledge.
Rutledge joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general in April 2016 in filing an amicus brief with the court in support of the church, which was seeking to participate in a State program that reimburses the cost of rubberizing playground surfaces.
In its 7-2 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion stating that the State’s denial of the grant solely based on the preschool’s religious affiliation is unconstitutional.
Rutledge Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision Regarding Arkansas Birth CertificatesMon, Jun 26, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court summarily reversed the Arkansas Supreme Court in Pavan v. Smith.
“In a sharply divided decision, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Arkansas Supreme Court without briefing or argument on the merits,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I disagree with the majority’s flawed reasoning and strongly agree with the conclusions of Justices Gorsuch, Thomas and Alito in their well-reasoned dissent. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has spoken, and I will continue to review today’s decision to determine the appropriate next steps upon remand to the Arkansas Supreme Court to ensure that the law is followed properly.”
Rutledge Selected as Vice Chairwoman of NAAG Southern RegionFri, Jun 23, 2017
Says, ‘it is important that we come together throughout the year to collaborate at the national level but also regionally’
BIG SKY, MT – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has been selected by her colleagues to serve as the vice chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Southern Region at this week’s summer meeting in Montana. Rutledge succeeds Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III as vice chairman as Slatery assumes the role of chairman.
“I am honored to be selected by my colleagues to serve as Vice Chairwoman of the NAAG Southern Region,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As the chief legal officers of our states, it is important that we come together throughout the year to collaborate at the national level but also regionally, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the South to help facilitate that.”
NAAG has four regional conferences: Eastern Region, Midwestern Region, Southern Region and Western Region (Conference of Western Attorneys General). The members of the regions are the attorneys general from the states and territories that make up the region and customarily meet once a year to discuss important issues impacting the region.
The NAAG Southern Region consists of the attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
In addition to now serving as the Vice Chairwoman of the NAAG Southern Region, Rutledge continues to serve as the Co-Chair of the NAAG Committee on Agriculture and the NAAG Committee on Federalism/Preemption and is a member of the Internet Safety/Cyber Privacy and Security Committee and Veteran Affairs Committee.
Rutledge also serves as the Vice Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.
Rutledge Joins Effort to Halt Sanctuary CitiesThu, Jun 22, 2017
Says, ‘President Trump’s executive order is lawful’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a 10-state coalition in defense of President Donald J. Trump’s executive order regarding the prohibition of sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants.
According to Rutledge and her colleagues, these sanctuary jurisdictions violate federal law by protecting illegal immigrants from removal from the United States. The amicus brief supports the federal government’s motion to dismiss three lawsuits. The coalition argues the lawsuits are premature and undermine the President’s immigration enforcement authority granted to him by Congress.
“These sanctuary jurisdictions are a threat to public safety and obstruct cooperation between federal, state and local officials of immigration enforcement,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “President Trump’s executive order is lawful and intended to properly enforce the current immigration laws of the United States.”
The executive order directs the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to ensure that sanctuary cities, to the extent permitted by law, may not receive grant dollars from specific federal programs. The order encourages states to comply with existing federal law that promotes voluntary cooperation between federal and state officials.
States that filed the brief include attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.