(Adam Laxalt, Nevada Attorney General) – I want to share some exciting news from this past week. As you know, when I came into the Attorney General’s office over a year ago, one of the things I hoped to do was increase the office’s ability to influence national legal issues that are important to Nevada and that could have a real effect on Nevadans down the road. With that in mind, one focus of mine over this past year has been growing my Solicitor General’s office so that we can weigh in on important legal issues — especially when those issues come before the U.S. Supreme Court.
This past week was a milestone in that effort. In what I believe was a first for the Nevada Attorney General’s office, my office led the charge in authoring and filing two different friend of the court briefs on important legal issues in the U.S. Supreme Court, all within the same week.
On Monday, we filed a brief leading a coalition of nine states in the Murr v. Wisconsin case. In that case, the Supreme Court will decide whether local, state, and federal governments, when they regulate private land, can effectively eliminate all use of a landowner’s parcel without compensating the landowner for the taking, so long as the landowner also owns another piece of adjacent land. We argue no. The government should have to compensate when it takes land, and whether the landowner owns other land should be irrelevant. A contrary rule would not only encourage more regulatory takings of private land without just compensation, but it would also open the door to more federal regulation of state land in Nevada.
Only three days later, on Thursday, we filed a second brief, this time leading a coalition of eighteen states in the Trinity Lutheran v. Missouri case. In that case, the Supreme Court will decide whether a state can exclude a religious organization from a generally available state benefit program just because it is religious. In Trinity Lutheran, the State of Missouri created a program to resurface private playgrounds with recycled scrap tires in order to protect children and reduce waste. A religious preschool daycare applied to participate in the program, but was denied solely because it was religious. We argue to the Supreme Court that Missouri had no lawful reason to discriminate against the preschool just because it happened to be religious. The goals of the program — protecting children and reducing tire waste — were completely irrelevant to the religious status of the preschool. One of the exciting things about the Trinity Lutheran case is that my office also took the lead in filing an earlier brief in that case successfully urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take and hear the case.
These are exciting times to be Attorney General in Nevada and it is rewarding to see the fruits of our labor as we try to increase the positive impact my office can have both nationally and here in Nevada!
The Office of the Attorney General is headed by Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt. The office’s primary role is to serve the citizens of Nevada and to work to make the state a stronger, safer and freer place to live. Visit its website at AG.NV.gov.