Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

December 7, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Attorney General-Elect


  • Tom Horne talks about his goals and priorities as the next Arizona Attorney General.
Guests:
  • Tom Horne - Arizona Attorney General-Elect
Category: Government

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Republican Tom Horne will take over the helm of the state Attorney General's office next year. He survived tough primary and general elections to win the office. Here to talk about his plans as attorney general is Tom Horne. Good to see you, thanks for joining us.

Tom Horne: It's always good to be with you.

Ted Simons: Congratulations on your win.

Tom Horne: Thank you.

Ted Simons: How will your office differ from that of Terry Goddard?

Tom Horne: It will differ substantively. We had some issues you may remember the Florets case, I actually appealed a certain case to the Supreme Court, the attorney general was against us where a federal judge fined Arizona a million dollars a day. There was a big difference substantively there. I believe the attorney general is to represent the taxpayers, and not representing plaintiffs against the taxpayers. I will defend Senate Bill 1070, he was against Senate Bill 1070. I was part of a health care issue to call Obama-care unconstitutional. He was not in agreement with that.

Ted Simons: As far as things at the occurring attorney general’s office has succeeded in doing –- the successes -- things you can build on, what do you see?

Tom Horne: There's very good borderlines going, the settlement with the western union, they got $50 million to be divided among four border states. $7 million went right away to Arizona. There's a good effort started to work on the border to stop money from going south to Mexico. So we'll build on that. That's just getting started, actually.

Ted Simons: Indeed. And the current attorney general's office talks about cartels being the most immediate threat to Arizona border security. You mentioned 1070, as well. Prioritize those two. Is the most immediate threat to end cartels and money transfers and these things?

Tom Horne: I think Senate Bill 1070 fits into that. I've always viewed that as the force multiplier for the border guard, the border guard should be on the border. If we had enough border guard we could stop illegal immigration and all the other illegal trafficking that’s going on. Now there are border guards that are in the interior of Arizona. If the local police are required to enforce the illegal immigration laws on the interior, then the border guard can focus on the border, that's a big step forward. It's really a force multiplier for the border guard.

Ted Simons: Those who are concerned that you might spend too much time worrying being preoccupied with 1070 as opposed to some of these other actions you would say --

Tom Horne: I would say I can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Ted Simons: Alright. You have also mentioned that you have a more cooperative relationship with business with attorney general. What does that mean?

Tom Horne: I used an example, somebody walked into an optometrist's shop not speaking English. She wanted her 12-year-old son to translate. He thought that was dangerous dealing with health matters, referred her to a shop he was associated with here they spoke Spanish. Next thing he knew he was hit with a lawsuit alleging he had violated her human rights from the attorney general's office. The leader of the optometrists association went to the attorney general and said, let's work out some guidelines. We want to obey the law but we would have never guessed that was vital of civil rights. They were not interested in that. They were just interested in pursuing the case. He has talked to me. He wanted to settle. They said you have to pay $1700 to the woman, and he was willing to do that, but then they said you have to translate the documents into Spanish and you have to provide free translation to anybody who listened to it. He said, I can't do that. Ultimately the case was dismissed. It was all a big bluff. There was no requirement that all shop owners learn Spanish. It reflected I think a philosophy of being willing to harass businesspeople who aren't really breaking the law, they are decent people. If changes are needed in their actions, I think you can work out guidelines with them, but we want a friendly attitude toward ethical business. When they are violating the law, we want to prosecute them. Ethical businesses obviously don't want to have to compete with unethical ones, but for the ethical ones we should work cooperatively with them.

Ted Simons: You've also mentioned a sting operation you'd like to get started against the auto repair industry. What’s that all about?

Tom Horne: I did use them as an example. It's not only that industry, but this was done up until about 12 years ago, they would have teams of three people go out. One was a mechanic and would give a perfectly good card to an auto repair place and see if they pretended things were wrong with it that weren't wrong with it. Those kinds of stings, which you can do in other areas as well, were discontinued or greatly reduced during the last 12 years because they were after cases that involved more money. My view is even cases involving a small amount of money are very important in affecting all of our lives. Take my example; auto repair shops know the next person might be from the attorney general's office, they will treat everybody better. Those cases that involve small amounts of money I think are very important for all of our quality of life.

Ted Simons: How do you keep though, from having innocent mistakes penalized and prosecuted? I know some of the auto repair industry folks are saying, wait a second here, what if somebody innocent gets caught up in this, in the headlines and the whole nine yards. Are you prepared for that?

Tom Horne: You need to have the evidence that it's innocence, or you don't really have a case. I noticed a story in the newspaper that a spokesperson for their industry agreed with me that the ethical ones don't want to have to compete with unethical ones.

Ted Simons: You mentioned 1070 and President Obama's health care reform and some of the things that you would join up in terms of fighting. What about the efforts to challenge the 14th Amendment? That’s coming down the pike here. We know it’s going to happen. How do you feel about that?

Tom Horne: We don't know for sure that it's going to happen. Whether it passes the legislature or not, we don't know. If it passes the legislature I've said I can defend that in the courts. The phrase that we’re talking about is a phrase in the 14th amendment that says, people born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction are citizens. That was passed in 1867, to give citizenship to the freed slaves. The senator who introduced that said it did not apply to children of diplomats or aliens because they are subject to a different jurisdiction; they are not subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States. You can think of a hypothetical a French tourist comes over, is here for a week, has a baby here, goes back to France. Are they subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States? Is that child a citizen? That senator said no. The first U.S. Supreme Court case to deal with this issue, the slaughterhouse cases that dealt with slaughterhouses in Louisiana, said the same thing. Children of aliens aren’t covered. Children of diplomats aren't covered, children of aliens are covered. The United States didn't try to control immigration until 1921. You wouldn't be asking the Supreme Court to do something new, you would be saying you were right the first time.

Ted Simons: You would also be asking the Supreme Court to take a look at this. We’ve had legal experts on the show and they are saying this particular court likes to look at history a lot. When they look at this particular history and this particular ruling and the decision, they see a court back in 1898 that looked very hard at this and went all the way back to who knows what kind of law, and made such a solid ruling that no one has bothered to even try since.

Tom Horne: If they are really interested in history, they may want to look at the 1823 decision.

Ted Simons: The idea is they did look at it during the time.

Tom Horne: I think you can argue they should take another look, particularly in view of new circumstances. There was no such thing as illegal immigrants at the time any of these decisions were made. There were no laws regulating immigration. There is a new element and there is precedent going back earlier than the one in 1898. I think it's perfectly legitimate for the court to look at.

>> Alright, very good. Thank you so much for joining us, we appreciate it.

Tom Horne: Great to be here, Ted.

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