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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Hassett will actually do attorney general duties

The choice between sitting Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and his opponent Scott Hassett was not a difficult one. Van Hollen has effectively been campaigning not to receive our endorsement for the last four years. His list of accomplishments is less impressive than Joe Pesci's in ""My Cousin Vinny."" He dropped the ball on Calumet County's ""sexting"" District Attorney Ken Kratz, who Van Hollen's office allowed to waft around courtrooms for months following allegations of sexual harassment. Last year the Wisconsin Department of Justice misplaced thousands of DNA samples, leading to the possibility of up to 3,000 convicted felons walking free when they should have been in jail.

But not all of Van Hollen's poor performance can be traced back to incompetence. Much of Van Hollen's ineffectiveness is due to his refusal to fulfill his duties as attorney general. Last year Van Hollen refused to represent the state when its domestic partnership registry was challenged in court by Wisconsin Family Action. This was the start of a trend for Van Hollen, as this year he failed to step up for the state when a ban struck down stem-cell research. Considering the core responsibility of the attorney general is to represent the people of Wisconsin, and thus defend the laws that the people's elected representatives have passed, it is hard to fathom how big Van Hollen's cajones must be if he would flat-out reject this directive.

Because of the deplorable display of partisanship in the Department of Justice over the past four years, The Daily Cardinal chooses to endorse former Department of Natural Resources secretary and Democratic nominee Scott Hassett for Wisconsin state attorney general. Unlike Van Hollen, Hassett has vowed to put his political leanings aside once elected and represent the state as required of him, whether that be arguing on behalf of legislation drafted by Democrats or Republicans.

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This promise will surely be put to the test, as odds are, Hassett would be working with a Republican governor and possibly a Republican legislature if elected. But considering Van Hollen has a proven track record of letting the people of Wisconsin down, it is time to give the Department of Justice a fresh start. Scott Hassett is that fresh start.

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