Cynthia CoffmanToday’s lesson in Colorado history comes from Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who apparently has to school Gov. Hickenlooper on the state’s constitution as well as the limits of his own power.

Hick is upset with the attorney general for challenging the Obama administration, yet again, on a federal policy that seeks to trump state powers. Hickenlooper is okay with the feds trumping Colorado when it comes to regulating our power grid or overriding our enforcement of natural resource development. Which is why he’s taking Coffman all the way to the state’s supreme court to determine just who in the state has the power to be the attorney general – the governor, or the attorney general.

“The governor disagrees with my legal position. Breaking from the practice during his tenure, he says he will file suit in the Colorado Supreme Court to prevent me from taking legal action on behalf of the State without his express permission,” Coffman wrote in an op/ed to Peak and other media outlets.

“He asserts he is the one entitled to represent the state’s position, both as a matter of policy and on important questions of law. But this is not what the state’s constitution or our laws say,” Coffman said.

Coffman instructs that the framers of the Colorado Constitution chose a system of government in which executive branch powers cannot be wielded by a dictator. Therefore, each elected state official has its own individual authority. For instance, the governor signs bills into law, the attorney general upholds the rule of law.

As it is the attorney’s general duty to represent the legal interests of the people of Colorado, “that means I can’t simply defer to the federal government or to the governor when i think they are wrong. I must use my own, independent legal judgment and make my own thoughtful decisions,” Coffman said.

We look forward to what the state supreme court has to say about this, and hope to see Hickenlooper put in his place, once and for all on the issue.