AG challenging financial reform act, N.Y. gun law

CHARLESTON – The attorney general of West Virginia has joined other states in lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a financial reform act and a New York law limiting gun-owner rights.

West Virginia was among the eight latest states to challenge the Dodd-Frank Act. The initial case said the act consolidates power into unelected bureaucrats under Orderly Liquidation Authority which allows the federal government to wind down financial companies deemed “too big to fail” and choose which of the companies’ creditors to bail out with minimal judicial review.

The law authorizes the executive branch to spend potentially trillions of dollars in the process, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said.

“By creating the possibility of a federal bailout for investments in financial institutions that are supposedly ‘too-big-to-fail,’ the Orderly Liquidation Authority disadvantages the smaller community banks that compose the overwhelming majority of banks in West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “The survival of those community banks is critical to the ability of West Virginians to borrow money to buy a home, pay for college, or start a business.”

The act signed into law by President Barack Obama in July 2010 implements sweeping reforms of the nation’s financial system.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., issued a statement.

“Two and a half years ago I voted against the Dodd-Frank Act primarily because it failed to end the phenomenon of Too Big to Fail financial institutions and codifies the bailouts for these institutions that were used during the financial crisis,” Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said. “We are already seeing the adverse effects this legislation is having on small financial institutions, consumers, and businesses.”

Morrisey also announced West Virginia with 19 other states filed a “friend of the court” brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Kachalsky v. Cacace, that challenges a New York law requiring a person to show a particular need to obtain a permit to carry a firearm outside the home. The law was upheld by a lower appeals court, to which Morrisey said the decision is troublesome because it concludes the Second Amendment’s protections end at a person’s front door.

“The Kachalsky decision affects West Virginians because the Second Circuit’s interpretation of the scope of the Second Amendment was incorrect, and that decision could impact future court decisions. Such a narrow view of the Second Amendment will chip away at this core constitutional right,” Morrisey said.

“The Second Circuit’s decision also affects West Virginians in a more narrow sense, particularly when it comes to West Virginia’s reciprocity agreements with other states. The ability of other states to restrict law-abiding citizens to carry weapons outside of the home means that the permits issued in West Virginia will not be recognized in those states,” he said.