Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is standing by his decision to shut down 14 bingo halls in Jefferson County earlier this week.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "Midday Mobile," Marshall said it was up to his office to enforce the laws on the book, and it was not up to law enforcement to determine which laws to enforce.
"It really rests at the hands of local officials to be able to do their jobs," he said. "This is not one where it is a close question or a close call, or that we have to litigate whether or not electronic bingo is legal. The Supreme Court, again, on multiple occasions — in fact, very few times do you really see frustration written in a court's order, but yet we've seen it the last few times the court has responded to what we've done to be able to say this shouldn't even continue to be an issue in our state. You know, this question of how we deal with gambling in Alabama is one for the legislature to decide. But unless and until they change the law, it is up to the enforcement arm to be able to do it."
"And again, I recognize that there are lots of issues affecting communities, but when we simply ignore what is a clear violation of law, to me, that not only undermines the rule of law but also the integrity of law enforcement because we're not there to be giving discretion over the laws that we like and the laws that we don't like," Marshall continued. "Our job is to enforce the laws that the legislature gives us. The actions that we had this week, we did it uniquely through a vehicle I've talked about, which we validated through our efforts to be able to use, to be able to get an order to shut it down without doing the larger raids that we've seen in the past."
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.