Goddard wrong to avoid abortion cases - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Goddard wrong to avoid abortion cases

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Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 9:52 pm | Updated: 12:35 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Our view: As the state’s official lawyer, the Arizona attorney general must defend the validity of state laws when they are challenged in court. Current Attorney General Terry Goddard has walked away from that duty in refusing to manage the state’s defense of a set of new abortion laws that were scheduled to go into effect Wednesday.

Judge blocks key parts of new abortion laws

As the state’s official lawyer, the Arizona attorney general must defend the validity of state laws when they are challenged in court.

Judge blocks key parts of new abortion laws

The attorney general doesn’t have to always win or believe in the statute, as the Legislature and governor have rarely consulted with the attorney general’s office before adopting any number of bad laws over the years.

But an attorney general’s task is to set aside any personal biases and try his professional best to uphold the will of the public’s representatives elected to adopt new legislation.

Current Attorney General Terry Goddard has walked away from that duty in refusing to manage the state’s defense of a set of new abortion laws that were scheduled to go into effect Wednesday.

After a pair of challenges were filed, Goddard declared a conflict of interest because of his views opposing additional restrictions on access to abortions, Capitol Media Services reported.

However, Goddard passed his responsibility to his chief deputy, Tim Nelson, who should have the same so-called conflict because he was the lawyer who helped former Gov. Janet Napolitano craft her veto messages when she blocked these same abortion laws while she was in office. The more likely reason that Goddard stepped aside was to avoid potential political damage as he prepares to run for governor as a Democrat next year. But a real leader should stand up to the political heat to do his job.

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