- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

CLEVELAND — The Republican state attorneys general who have scored some of the biggest legal victories rolling back President Obama’s regulatory policies and executive orders said Tuesday they think they will have an ally in the White House if Donald Trump is elected in November.

Although some conservatives continue to express skepticism about the Republican nominee’s commitment to federalism and the constitutional separation of powers, Mr. Trump’s release of a list of conservative judges he might appoint to the Supreme Court, and his selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, have been positive signs, Oklahoma state Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in an interview.

“When I look at the judges he says he will appoint, yes, it is reassuring to me that Donald Trump understands our issues,” Mr. Pruitt said. “And Mike Pence is a governor and a solid conservative choice who understands the issues of federalism at a very personal level.”

Adam Laxalt, attorney general for Nevada, said Mr. Trump’s background as a real estate developer should be a benefit, because so many regulations and orders issued under Mr. Obama had a direct effect on the bottom line of ranchers, farmers and other business owners in his state.

“I would think that, being a businessman, he has got to be particularly aware of how regulations really slow things down,” Mr. Laxalt said.

The group of more than two dozen Republican state attorneys general has formed an unexpectedly potent source of resistance to some of Mr. Obama’s top domestic priorities, from environmental regulation and the implementation of Obamacare to immigration and the recent “guidance” from the federal government over the use of school bathrooms by transgender individuals.

It was legal action by protesting states that blocked Mr. Obama’s plan to effectively protect millions of illegal immigrants to be protected from deportation.

Mr. Obama’s regulatory overreach was the sole focus on a session on federalism hosted by the tea party conservative group FreedomWorks held on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention, with Mr. Trump’s name not even surfacing once.

“In recent years, this executive has run amok,” said West Virginia state Attorney General Patrick Morrissey, “putting in sweeping new rules and regulations that were never passed by Congress.”

Citing the case of what he said was the EPA’s efforts to impose its own rules to protect the endangered sage grouse despite the opposition of many in northern Nevada, Mr. Laxalt said Mr. Obama’s attitude is “it’s all about winning, it’s about pure ideology and defeating the enemy.”

But leading “constitutional conservatives” have expressed reservations with some of Mr. Trump’s own comments on the role of the federal government, including a comment on the campaign trail that, after security, the federal government’s “top functions” were health care and education.

Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, a supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz in the primaries and someone who has yet to endorse Mr. Trump, told radio host Glenn Beck this week he still had his doubts.

“I would love to be won over, I would love to see him embracing federalism and separation of powers, I would love to see him talking about returning power to the people,” Mr. Lee said. “I haven’t heard that from him.”

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