Attorney General Chris Carr yesterday joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general from around the country in filing a brief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia supporting the federal government’s motion to dismiss the case against Gen. Michael Flynn.

“Our founding fathers designed a system of government knowing that any one branch of government is capable of over-stepping their bounds,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “We have checks and balances for this reason. As state attorneys general, it is our duty as defenders of the Constitution to voice our concerns when federal overreach occurs.” 

After the federal government decided not to pursue criminal charges against Gen. Flynn, the U.S. District Court for D.C. implied that it may order the prosecution to continue through a court-appointed prosecutor. The district court additionally stated that it would invite other individuals and organizations to file amicus briefs addressing whether the court should grant the government’s motion to dismiss.

The coalition argues that there was no reason for the court to issue this solicitation because it has no say in the federal government’s decision not to prosecute. “Simply put,” the brief reads, “the decision not to pursue a criminal conviction is vested in the executive branch alone — and neither the legislature nor the judiciary has any role in the executive’s making of that decision.

The coalition contends that the district court should grant the motion “without commentary on the decision to charge or not to charge, because such punditry disrobes the judiciary of its cloak of impartiality.”

According to the brief, “the Court’s desire to assume the role of a prosecutor evinces a total lack of regard for the role that the separation of powers plays in our system. Before the federal government may deprive a citizen of his freedom, it must navigate a number of hurdles. It must find a law that the citizen violated, a prosecutor willing to press charges, a jury of other citizens willing to convict, and a court to uphold the legality of the prosecution. In other words, the judiciary is supposed to function as a constitutional check on deprivations of liberty — it is not supposed to remove constitutional checks on deprivations of liberty. But that is exactly what the Court would do by second-guessing the prosecutors’ decision not to continue pursuing this case.”

Ohio led this brief. Georgia joined along with attorneys general in Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; Florida; Indiana; Louisiana; Mississippi; Missouri; Oklahoma; South Carolina; Texas; Utah; and West Virginia.