Huckleberries: What is it like to try to replace a man who originally hired you?
Clive Strong: I began working for then Attorney General Jim Jones in 1983. I learned from Jim how to practice law in the public sector. I'm to represent the best interests of the state of Idaho.
Huckleberries: What do you think of the controversy between Gov. Otter, some legislative leaders and your current boss, Lawrence Wasden?
Clive Strong: The obligation of the attorney general is to give his or her best interpretation of the law as written. The current issues are a matter of policy. If the governor or Legislature disagree with the legal advice, it is within their power to change the law.
Huckleberries: How would you describe the other three people who are running for the office in five words or less?
Strong: Robyn Brody is a trial attorney. Sergio Guttierez is a court of appeals judge. Curt McKenzie is a criminal defense lawyer and a legislator.
Huckleberries: How does your body of work at the AG's office separate you from the rest of the field?
Strong: As a deputy AG, my job has been to represent the 1.6M people of the state of Idaho. In that capacity, I've been responsible for providing advice to governor's legislators and other elected officials based on the meaning of the law as written. Similarly, as a candidate for the court the expectation of a justice is to fairly and impartially review the law as written and provide a reasoned opinion for my interpretation of the law.
Huckleberries: How would you go about interpreting the law?
Strong: I believe that the role of the judiciary is limited. As a justice my duty would be to interpret the law as written. I would look to the language of the statute or Constitutional provision and give effect to its plain meaning.
Huckleberries: Why is the attorney general's office a good launching pad for a seat on the Supreme Court?
Strong: In my capacity as chief of the natural resources division, I've had the opportunity to practice throughout Idaho and gain an understanding of the values and interests of people in the various regions of state. In addition, I have a diverse practice that includes litigating constitutional law issues at the highest level (US Supreme Court twice). I have a keen understanding and awareness of respective roles of the three branches of government.
Huckleberries: How would you describe your political leaning?
Strong: I don't have a political leaning. I've intentionally avoided any affiliation with a political party. In order for officials to have confidence in my advice, I felt it important that I be seen as providing objective, nonpartisan legal advice.
D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.