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Some push to appoint, rather than elect, Utah’s Attorney General

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Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-30 19:14:40-05

SALT LAKE CITY – In the wake of Utah Attorney General John Swallow’s announcement he will resign, some in Utah are advocating for a change to the way Utah’s AG is elected.

The position is currently an elected position, but some Utahns, like former U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tholman, believe it should be an appointed position.

“An attorney needs to be able to make a decision not based on the politics, and so if that teaches us anything it should teach us that while the people elect the governor they can go on to select the most qualified attorney that has the experience necessary to make those tough decisions,” he said.

Others who favor maintaining the current system say an elected AG provides an independent check on the governor and legislature, and they said voters have access to the information they need to keep an Attorney General honest.

The position of Attorney General in Utah is one of five so-called “Constitutional officers”, which means they are elected officials who have responsibilities outlined by the state’s constitution. The other such positions are the governor and Lt. governor (who are elected as a pair), the state treasurer and the state auditor.