President Obama announced that he will nominate Julie Brill, the Senior Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Consumer Protection and Antitrust at the North Carolina Department of Justice, for a position on the Federal Trade Commission. Previously, Brill worked as Assistant Attorney General in Vermont for 21 years, and has also worked with the National State Attorneys General Program as an adviser. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy commented on the announcement: "Vermont has a vibrant record of consumer and privacy protection second to none, and Julie Brill did a masterful job in defending and renewing those rights."
Director James E. Tierney was featured on a panel of legal experts discussing the passage of Proposition 1 in Maine, which repealed a law permitting same-sex marriage. "The fact that it was close, same-sex marriage supporters have a lot to be pleased about," Tierney said. "Time is clearly on the side of those who support same-sex marriage."
Program Director James E. Tierney was quoted on the power of attorneys general to protect consumers from faulty marketing by the food industry. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced an investigation into whether the "Smart Choice" labels used by some large food and drink manufacturers violate Connecticut consumer protection law. Blumenthal has written letters to Pepsi, General Mills, and Kellogg's over concerns that the labels misstate participating foods' nutritional value.
Law.com's Corporate Counsel featured an in-depth overview of news surrounding the Antitrust Federalism conference, co-sponsored by the National State Attorneys General Program and the National Association of Attorneys General, and held at Columbia Law School. The article, which focused on the renewed spirit of cooperation between state and federal enforcement officials, provided coverage of remarks by the keynote speakers: U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Christine Varney, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, and Federal Trade Commission Chair Jon Leibowitz, as well as panel moderator Stephen Houck, of counsel at Menaker & Hermann LLP and Executive Director of the State Center.
Program director James E. Tierney remarked on a Supreme Court decision striking down a rule allowing only federal regulators to enforce consumer protection laws against the nation's biggest banks. Tierney noted that the case was "a stinging defeat for the large banks and federal regulators who have worked for years to stop states from enforcing state consumer protection and antidiscrimination laws.
Program Director James E. Tierney appeared on Financial 411 on WNYC public radio on April 28 as part of the station's coverage of the Supreme Court's Cuomo v. Clearing House case. The eventual ruling could have wide implications for the role of the states in bank regulation. Tierney discussed the role of the state regulators in consumer protection as relates to the ongoing banking crisis. Use the module below to listen:
Tierney also discussed the actions of federal and state regulators with The New York Times. Click here to read the Times article. Click here for more information on the Cuomo case.
The April 2009 issue of Governing profiled a wide range of former and current attorneys general in a discussion of the growth and use of the power of the office, in addition to reporting on former AGs who have moved on to other elected offices. James Tierney offered his perspective on AGs' roles in settling litigation.
Iowa Attorney General and Program advisor Tom Miller assessed the difficulties in modifying mortgage agreements to reduce payments or avoid foreclosure. Miller has led a group of attorneys general on mortgage modification efforts.
The Obama administration signaled that the Program Director James Tierney discussed the emerging relationships between state attorneys general and the new federal administration on consumer protection, the environment, and other issues. He predicted that the administration "will be with the states as long as the states fit in with his view of the national interest.”