J. Robert Latham, Libertarian candidate for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District
Occupation: Attorney and counselor at law
Hometown: Salt Lake City
Residence: St. George
Education: University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, J.D., 1994; University of Southern California, B.A., 1991
1. What is your position on Utah’s coronavirus response, and do you support mask mandates?
The imprecision of this question requires a nuanced answer. The people of Utah should not be conflated with the state of Utah.
In addition, congressional representatives should have no role in the state of Utah’s coronavirus response other than supporting the removal of injurious restrictions at the federal level.
The state of Utah’s coronavirus response has unnecessarily and recklessly harmed the lives and livelihood of many Utahns. Like the ill-conceived War on (some people who use some) Drugs, the overall harm caused by the state-sponsored cure is worse than that caused by the disease.
The challenge of a political entity requiring the use of masks or other personal protective equipment is that such entities are themselves restricted by federal and state constitutions.
I encourage vulnerable populations to exercise caution, and all of us to exercise courtesy and compassion. I oppose lockdowns and quarantines. Liberty-oriented solutions afford property owners the autonomy to determine the conditions for entrance onto their property. Many retailers throughout Utah have imposed a mask requirement for on-site patrons.
And many Utahns are familiar with the operation of homeowner associations (“HOA”), governed by terms prospective property owners must agree to before joining the community, and often recited in a document called “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” (CC&Rs).
So effective are the incentives to enforce an HOA’s terms, the behavior of some HOA board members are a regular source of complaints. Indeed, one may rightly question whether opposition to such covenanted communities is driven by a desire by some to evade accountability for one’s actions, given the repeated examples of the failure of monopoly governments to achieve their claimed objective to protect and serve our persons and property.
Yet problems have solutions. For example, to ameliorate the election of sociopathic or overly enthusiastic board members of homeowner associations, members could be selected by democratic lotteries instead, which would help foster community equity and harmony.
Accordingly, I support a property owner’s right to determine personal protective equipment requirements for invitees, and I support each individual’s autonomy to decide what personal protective equipment to use, if any.
2. What is your view on the ongoing protests for racial equity and police reform?
Having witnessed disparate racial treatment in the criminal justice and family regulation systems in Utah’s courts, I am grateful for ongoing efforts to remedy these inequities.
Similarly, I am grateful for efforts to raise awareness of — and remedy — police misconduct, excessive pensions, and the judicially-created qualified immunity doctrine. I favor enacting federal legislation to end qualified immunity, and to replace policing agencies with market-accountable security firms — such as Detroit’s Threat Management Centers — instead of wasting more effort in attempts to reform inherently-corrupt organizations.
I encourage the continued use of strategic nonviolent action, such as those identified by the Albert Einstein Institution, to improve the quality of life in our communities.
3. What are the top three issues affecting Utahns?
According to the Utah Foundation, health care remains a top concern for Utahns.
Other top concerns are state taxes and spending, and K-12 education.
The drafters of the U.S. Constitution would be surprised at the federal government’s intrusion into these areas, given the language of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, and the concept of enumerated powers.
Libertarians favor ending federal interference in the health care market, so that consumers may obtain affordable health care services outside of politically-favored medical cartels and drug manufacturers.
Libertarians also favor ending federal interference in K-12 education. Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability, and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Remember when the Republican Party platform favored abolishing the U.S. Department of Education?
4. How will you vote in the presidential election?
I will be proudly voting for the only woman to have appeared in two elections on the ballots of all 50 states, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Dr. Joanne Jorgensen.
5. What, if anything, would you like to communicate to Salt Lake Community College students specifically?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my perspectives with The Globe’s audience.
I was an adjunct instructor at SLCC before relocating to St. George, and encourage students to study the Libertarian Party’s national platform. If your values are Libertarian values, please join us, and tell your friends and family.
As a juror, know that you can vote “not guilty” when the law is unjust or unjustly applied.
To expand opportunities to serve on federal, state, and local staffs — and to disrupt cabals — I support implementing “service limits”.
To open up our political system, I support the implementation of more competitive and representative, gerrymander-proof and spoiler-proof proportional representation voting, ranked-choice voting, and democratic lotteries. I also encourage the adoption of these more inclusive methods to populate decision-making bodies for student organizations.
Finally, to encourage innovation and eliminate state-sponsored privileges, I favor the abolition of intellectual property laws.
Please also consider my qualifications as a Member of the U.S. Congress, which include:
Not voting for the largest corporate robbery of taxpayers in U.S. history (CARES Act).
Not voting to reauthorize the ongoing warrantless searches and abuses of innocent Americans enabled by the FISA Act and USA PATRIOT Act (H.R. 6172).
Not voting for what FreedomWorks calls “The Generational Theft Act” (H.R. 3877).
Not voting against an amendment to prohibit unauthorized military force in or against Iran (H.R. 2500). Representing the prevailing appellant in In re B.T.B., 2020 UT 60.