Politics Redeeming justice: the next attorney general

19:20  25 november  2020
19:20  25 november  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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The next attorney general will reflect the new administration’s priorities. After years seemingly at the center of every major political fight in Washington, the Justice Department is about to get new leadership, and President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for attorney general will have to balance

President Donald Trump has decided to nominate former Attorney General William Barr to be the next permanent head of the Justice Department, the President told reporters Friday.

In October 2020, Philip Halpern, a respected federal prosecutor of 36 years, resigned from the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) because of what he called Attorney General William Barr's "slavish obedience" to the whims of President Trump. In November, Richard Pilger, director of the department's election crimes unit, stepped down when Barr changed department policy and authorized federal prosecutors to investigate voter fraud while post-election controversies still raged. In response, 16 prosecutors given the assignment reported no fraud and complained that Barr's memo improperly thrust them into partisan politics.

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Redeeming Justice book. Read 31 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series. I like the fact that this attorney has fears Redeeming Justice . Great court room drama, exciting. This guy knows how to bring a story together

US attorney general William Barr has allowed federal prosecutors to probe alleged irregularities in the presidential election, prompting a top justice department official to quit. The official, Richard Pilger, would have overseen such investigations. Any such cases would normally be the remit of individual

a man wearing glasses: Redeeming justice: the next attorney general © Washington Post/Pool Redeeming justice: the next attorney general

Such objections were nothing new. In February, all four prosecutors handling Roger Stone's case resigned when the department reduced its recommended sentence. In May, the top prosecutor on the Michael Flynn case quit when Barr ordered its dismissal. More than 2,000 former DOJ prosecutors and FBI officials followed with a demand for Barr's removal.

The common thread in these and similar cases is political interference with law enforcement. Collectively, they signify the debasement of the Justice Department under this attorney general.

When I worked in the deputy attorney general's office during the Obama administration, we understood that politics could play a part in some decisions. But where it had any influence, it was third in line behind law and policy. We understood, too, that the White House had a say in the department's decisionmaking, but only on issues of policy as communicated to senior political appointees in the department. Most important, we understood that when it came to law enforcement, politics was off limits.

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The 2018 Minnesota Attorney General election was held on November 6, 2018, to elect the attorney general of the U.S. state of Minnesota. A primary election was held on August 14, 2018, in which Doug Wardlow was nominated as the Republican candidate and Keith Ellison was nominated as the

The Clinton administration also respected the independence of law enforcement. In the White House Counsel's Office back then, I was the designated enforcer of a strict ban on meddling in such decisions. Once, a Justice Department official invited me to a meeting that I did not realize affected a law enforcement issue. The division head promptly threw me out.

One of the Justice Department's foundational statements on law enforcement is a 1940 speech by Attorney General Robert Jackson to federal prosecutors. Jackson reminded the prosecutors that they have "more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America." He worried about their "most dangerous power," the ability to "pick the people he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted." He therefore urged prosecutors to "serve the law and not factional purposes." While Jackson's speech focused on persecution, his logic also condemns the converse - cronyism, corruption and submission to political masters.

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That’s why the Department of Homeland Security is now referring 100 percent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution. And the Department of Justice will take up those cases. I have put in place a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal entry on our Southwest border.

As a general rule, an attorney who is an active member of the bar of any U.S. jurisdiction and has at least one year post-J.D We maintain a current listing of all attorney vacancies at Justice . These employment opportunities are searchable by hiring component, geographic locale, and practice area.

It is thus ironic that in September, speaking at Hillsdale College, Barr cited the same passages to argue not that law enforcement must be independent and apolitical, which was Jackson's point, but rather that it should be responsive to politics. According to Barr, the principal check on prosecutorial abuse is political accountability. Career prosecutors, he said, lack political legitimacy in making law enforcement decisions. Though he also mentioned "detachment" and reasonableness, Barr captured his point in the acid remark, "Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it's no way to run a federal agency." It is no surprise that morale at the department is in the tank.

To be sure, political appointees should be accountable for the department's decisions. But accountability occurs after the fact, when damage has already occurred. It is a last line of defense. Barr's speech reads less like a prospective call for accountability than a rationalization for his supine submission to all but the president's most outlandish efforts to politicize the department.

Biden searches for attorney general to restore Justice Dept.’s independence, refocus on civil rights

  Biden searches for attorney general to restore Justice Dept.’s independence, refocus on civil rights A politician or a prosecutor? The next attorney general will reflect the new administration’s priorities. Most senior Democrats and former Justice Department officials agree a top contender for the position is Sally Q. Yates, the former deputy attorney general whose tenure stretched from 2015 to the early, tumultuous days of the Trump administration. Other names under consideration include Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), former homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson, former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and former White House adviser Lisa Monaco.

The harms wrought by this misfeasance will last a long time. Shattered traditions are not easily restored. Although the Biden administration will likely respect the department's independence, rebuilding will require concerted effort and substantial resources.

To that end, President-elect Biden should appoint an attorney general who is not a political figure and whose probity is beyond challenge, in the mold of Edward Levi, who was president of the University of Chicago when President Ford appointed him to redeem the department after Watergate, or Griffin Bell, a former court of appeals judge, or William Webster, also a court of appeals judge when Carter appointed him FBI director. In addition, the next attorney general should be a veteran of the department who has internalized the principles that Robert Jackson proclaimed and whose personal mission is to revive and reinforce them in the hearts and minds of every employee.

With such leadership, perhaps the Department of Justice can rebuild its reputation and live up to its name.

Robert N. Weiner, an attorney practicing in Washington, D.C., was associate deputy attorney general in the Obama administration and senior counsel in the White House Counsel's Office in the Clinton administration.

Biden needs attorney general with integrity, proven record on civil rights .
Tap former Clinton, Obama appointee for pick committed to comprehensive sentencing, policing reform and restoration of voting rights.I’ve dedicated my career to the fight against systemic injustice and racism. The global and national outcry for change is encouraging. The marches and activism, which filled the streets with hundreds of thousands saying their names, “Breonna, George and Ahmaud,” now demand action.

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