Author

Jim Jones

Jim Jones

Jim Jones served as Idaho attorney general for eight years (1983-1991) and as a justice of the Idaho Supreme Court for 12 years (2005-2017). His weekly columns are collected at JJCommonTater.com.

COMMENTARY
Ada County voting booths

Idahoans should not be discouraged from exercising their lawful voting rights

By: - May 6, 2022

We often hear of folks who take advantage of tax breaks that some would view as unfair, but they can’t be faulted if the law specifically provides for the break. Or, say a government program provides a monetary grant or forgivable loan for pandemic relief. It is not dishonest to take the money if you […]

COMMENTARY
Door to the Office of the Attorney General at the Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021.

Keeping the state on firm legal ground isn’t headline-grabbing, but it’s essential to Idaho

By: - April 22, 2022

The six of us served as Idaho attorney general from 1971 to 2003, a total of 32 years. It is an important state office, but Idahoans are often in the dark as to what the attorney general is supposed to do. Although the AG runs on a partisan ticket, voters may not know that his […]

COMMENTARY
Idaho State Capitol

Many Idaho lawmakers retaliate against our state’s constitutional truth tellers

By: - March 31, 2022

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has accumulated quite a cadre of political enemies in the Idaho Legislature for giving honest, accurate legal advice on legislative bills that contain fatal constitutional flaws. He does not volunteer the opinions – they are only provided in response to requests from legislators. The AG’s opinion-writing duty is much like the […]

COMMENTARY
The Three Servicemen statue at Vietnam Veterans Memorial

While National Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day is appreciated, limiting war is the true lesson

By: - March 29, 2022

The National Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day Act was passed by Congress in 2017 to recognize those who served in that ill-fated war. Because of the heated controversy about the war in the U.S., many service personnel came home to an indifferent, even-hostile reception. The 2017 Act was designed to demonstrate the belated thanks of […]

COMMENTARY
The Idaho Supreme Court Building

Idaho has an exemplary process for picking judges, why fix it?

By: - March 18, 2022

During his 12 years as Idaho governor, Butch Otter tells me he appointed 56 judges for Idaho’s judicial system – five justices of the Supreme Court, all of the current judges on the Court of Appeals and over 45 District Court judges. He regularly received praise from other governors for the high quality of Idaho’s […]

COMMENTARY
Private or public school?

As legislators consider voucher scholarship bill, they should reread the Idaho Constitution

By: and - February 28, 2022

Sometimes you wonder if certain members of the Idaho Legislature have even read the Idaho Constitution. For all their pronouncements about honoring and faithfully following the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions, they pay precious little regard to them when passing legislation that fits their agenda. Legislators have ignored their duty under the Constitution to adequately fund […]

COMMENTARY
Idaho State Capitol rotunda

In Idaho, we should heed George Washington’s warning against extreme political partisanship

By: - February 24, 2022

George Washington, America’s first president and one its greatest, was born on the 22nd of February 290 years ago. Lacking Methuselah’s longevity, he is no longer with us. But the wisdom he left with us has turned out to be right on the mark. We can save our state and Nation if we heed his […]

COMMENTARY
For rent sign in Boise

Idaho should not let big property managers victimize hard-pressed renters

By: - February 9, 2022

The Idaho House of Representatives has handed large property owners and managers a significant victory that will come back to bite many hard-pressed residential renters. House Bill 442, which passed on a 54-14 vote on Feb. 7, will allow landlords and property management companies to impose additional financial burdens on renters in cities where affordable […]

COMMENTARY
Idaho Capitol rotunda

Our Idaho legislators should take a budgeting lesson from struggling families

By: - January 19, 2022

Even before they blew into Boise for the 2022 legislative session, Idaho legislators were rhapsodizing about the gigantic tax cuts they were going to bestow upon their voters – $350 million, $400 million, $600 million. The sky’s the limit in an election year. There is certainly enough surplus revenue in state coffers to sweeten the […]

COMMENTARY
Gov. Brad Little in House chambers

The Legislature is violating its constitutional duty to adequately fund Idaho’s public schools

By: - January 13, 2022

Idaho has an historic $1.6 billion revenue surplus, much of which can and should be used to finally satisfy the Legislature’s constitutional duty to provide adequate funding for Idaho’s public school system. Article IX, Section 1 of the Idaho Constitution commands that “it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and […]

COMMENTARY
Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol

This time, let’s not ignore a distinguished Idaho State grad’s warning about our democracy’s fate

By: - December 27, 2021

A hand grenade was dropped into the lap of Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba in 2004 when he was assigned to investigate reports of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. I understand the conflicting interests such an investigator faces because I had been appointed to investigate an artillery incident involving a friend in my […]

COMMENTARY
Rep. Liz Cheney

U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney is the Margaret Chase Smith of our time

By: - December 21, 2021

The latest skirmish in the war between Donald Trump and Liz Cheney began Oct. 10, when Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Trump acolyte, House Minority Whip Steve Scalice (R-La.), whether President Biden had legitimately won the 2020 election. Scalice was not about to fall into the trap of answering a direct yes or no […]