|Gregory T. Douglas|
|83rd United States Attorney General|
Assumed office |
5 November 2013 -
|Deputy||James M. Cole|
|Preceded by||Eric Holder|
|Idaho State Attorney General|
1998 – 5 November 2013
|Preceded by||Alan G. Lance|
|Succeeded by||Lawrence Wasden|
|Idaho State Representative|
|Born||Gregory Troy Douglas|
13 May 1969
|Political party||Republican Party|
|Spouse(s)||Meagan Douglas (nee Nelson)|
|Alma mater||UI College of Law (J.D.)|
Douglas, although viewed as conservative in his approach to justice and politics, identifies as a moderate who "understands the importance of individual liberty but also the equal importance of protecting what unifies us [Americans]: our traditions, cultures and values." He supports the federal death penalty and states' rights to decide on whether or not they want it, and has committed himself recently to overseeing the dismantlement of "any unconstitutional practices that any subdivision of the Justice Department may be involved with". He opposes the notion of the Constitution being "living law", and has stated that any judge who does not interpret the Constitution as it is written in text is "overstepping" and "violating" his office. Douglas is an outspoken opponent of gun control, which led to a controversy in February 2013 while he was Idaho's Attorney General, when he publicly stated that he will refuse to enforce any "unconstitutional" gun control measures and will direct state law enforcement to do the same.
State Attorney General
Gun control controversy
Douglas came in the national spotlight when he on 22 February 2012 said at a press briefing that he has instructed all state justice department subsidiaries to not enforce any federal gun control legislation without permission directly from his office. Many on the American political left immediately labelled Douglas a traitor and accused him of treason, citing the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. Douglas, however, iterated that "all federal statue law is subservient to the Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment". The political right hailed him a hero as he was the first high profile political official with substantive and relevant power to take such an action.
Governor Butch Otter refused to comment concerning the situation. Many suspect the Governor did not want to risk reelection by condemning Douglas' pro-gun act, nor did he want to be labelled a traitor himself. The situation also proved difficult for federal and officials from other states to take a stance on. President Obama, himself fearing massive fallout from the political right should he take action, simply stated in a press room briefing that "action will be taken against those who refuse to enforce federal law", without referring to Douglas or the hundreds of sheriffs throughout the nation directly.
Douglas became a large proponent of the largely symbolic "Idaho Gun Bill", which passed the Idaho House of Representatives and Senate in March of 2013. Many believe the Bill, being mostly symbolic, was a way for Douglas to get out of the controversy and avoid scandal. Most attention shifted away from the Attorney General's Office thereafter and focused on the bill and its effects, sparing Douglas any criminal charges. He remained largely silent on gun rights and -control for the remainder of his time in the SAG office.
United States AG
March 2015: Insular Cases and American Samoa
In March 2015, Douglas declared publicly that the Department of Justice will no longer defend the federal government against court applications by American nationals from American Samoa who want to be recognized as American citizens, on par with the status of those inhabitants of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. Prior to this, the Department of Justice has consistently cited the 1901 Insular Cases as its defense against such applications. The Attorney General's Office followed up by stating that it regards the judgments of these cases as "contextually indefensible" and "patently unconstitutional". This does not, however, nullify the Insular Cases, which are still part and parcel of U.S. constitutional law. Douglas has stated that his office will support any attempts by American Samoans to have the precedent of the Insular Cases reversed by the Supreme Court.
Although he considers himself "a man of conviction", Douglas joked with the press outside his office on 19 November 2013 that he "[is] simply too nice to not be friends with everyone". Douglas has been described by former staff and colleagues in Idaho and some acquaintances in Washington as being approachable, friendly and "always willing to lend an ear". Douglas himself would publicly disagree with colleagues on the Hill and in the executive, but has reasonably maintained good relations with any other prominent politicians.
Speaker Elizabeth Anderson
Senator Damien Clément Souverain
Senator Lindsay M. Wesson
Senator Darnell Morgan
Senator Percy Hunter
Douglas has described Senator Hunter, and especially his social outlook, as "too open" for a structured, successful society, but has praised the Senator for being "one of the mature minarchists". Hunter's status as the only Libertarian in Congress, thus the only person outside of the GOP besides the independents who have conservative economic views, has contributed positively to his relationship with the Attorney General.
President Charles Morgan
President Morgan and Douglas have since the beginning of the Morgan Administration and thus Douglas' appointment had a good working relationship. Although Douglas, as Attorney General of Idaho beforehand, described both Charles Morgan and his son, Darnell Morgan as "slightly too right", Douglas considers himself an ideological compatriot of the President, and has stated that this will positively contribute to the implementation of executive policies and Republican legislation.