Thursday, September 17, 2020

Chairman Bill Speaks, Lib Heads Explode

 From AG Barr's prepared remarks at Hillsdale College on Constitution Day, via Breitbart:

The most basic check on prosecutorial power is politics. It is counter-intuitive to say that, as we rightly strive to maintain an apolitical system of criminal justice. But political accountability—politics—is what ultimately ensures our system does its work fairly and with proper recognition of the many interests and values at stake. Government power completely divorced from politics is tyranny.

Isn't that what the Progressive project all about? They claim to be aiming for an apolitical government of experts. What they really mean is that all politics except theirs will be banned--a one party state. And we now find ourselves faced with a weaponized media/technology sector with unprecedented powers that is openly siding with that agenda.


Line prosecutors, by contrast, are generally part of the permanent bureaucracy. They do not have the political legitimacy to be the public face of tough decisions and they lack the political buy-in necessary to publicly defend those decisions. Nor can the public and its representatives hold civil servants accountable in the same way as appointed officials. Indeed, the public’s only tool to hold the government accountable is an election — and the bureaucracy is neither elected nor easily replaced by those who are.

Name one successful organization where the lowest level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct. There aren’t any. 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. Good leaders at the Justice Department—as at any organization—need to trust and support their subordinates. But that does not mean blindly deferring to whatever those subordinates want to do.

Active engagement in our cases by senior officials is also essential to the rule of law. The essence of the rule of law is that whatever rule you apply in one case must be the same rule you would apply to similar cases. Treating each person equally before the law includes how the Department enforces the law.

We should not prosecute someone for wire fraud in Manhattan using a legal theory we would not equally pursue in Madison or in Montgomery, or allow prosecutors in one division to bring charges using a theory that a group of prosecutors in the division down the hall would not deploy against someone who engaged in indistinguishable conduct.

Taking a capacious approach to criminal law is not only unfair to criminal defendants and bad for the Justice Department’s track record at the Supreme Court, it is corrosive to our political system. If criminal statutes are endlessly manipulable, then everything becomes a potential crime.

Again, isn't that the Progressive notion? Let the experts--the Weissmann's and Comeys and Muellers--decide what the criminal laws should mean. If it advances the Progressive agenda of one party rule, then it must be ipso facto legitimate. We've seen this approach over and over again. And we're seeing it every day from The Resistance. 

This criminalization of politics is not healthy.  The criminal law is supposed to be reserved for the most egregious misconduct — conduct so bad that our society has decided it requires serious punishment, up to and including being locked away in a cage.  These tools are not built to resolve political disputes and it would be a decidedly bad development for us to go the way of third world nations where new administrations routinely prosecute their predecessors for various ill-defined crimes against the state.  The political winners ritually prosecuting the political losers is not the stuff of a mature democracy.

My question--how to proceed in a divided country with its constitutional order under attack in Congress, from an Executive Deep State, and in the Judiciary?

But when was the last time we had an AG who has thought this deeply about our constitutional order? And who offers his views on the subject without varnish, without talking down?

CNN anchor Don Lemon was flabbergasted: “I don’t know what to say,” he said, in reporting Barr’s remarks.


Well, no. How would he know what to say to intelligent, prepared remarks?


  1. The increasing crescendo and number of comments attacking the politicization of law by AG Barr are hopefully leading up to a finale...


  2. Agree with DJL, this is leading up to something, but what?

  3. Cannot fully express in words my man crush on Bill Barr. That said, he cannot keep at this forever. What is his succession plan? For that matter, what is DJT's?

    Forgive this gulf coast native his Hurricane analogies, but this election strikes me as Katrina in 2005. If and when we plug the holes in the dykes, we have to pump the water back out. Who are the leaders going to be that are going to be tagged in to take over that job?

    Assuming of course we win in November. Otherwise this is all academic.

  4. Swag

    Trump is changing the Republican Party from one that basically partnered with The Democrats for a globalist agenda, with lots of virtue signaling with talks of tax breaks and fair trade, but pretty ineffective (Paul Ryan, Bush 2, etc), to one focused on results for the middle and working classes.

    If Trump succeeds, he will destroy the Democratic Electoral Coalition made up of the elites and lower classes that see themselves in a class struggle.

    The joker is the huge deficits.

    >Who are the leaders going to be that are going to be
    >tagged in to take over that job?

  5. I recall the mistreatment of Alberto Gonzalez. Dems got panities in a knot over political motivation in hiring line attorneys. Compare with those hired in the Holder/Lynch regime?

  6. Alberto Gonzalez cared about the lies Democrats told about him. Bill Barr; not so much.

  7. How many times over the past several decades have Republicans deferred to Dem eruptions, conceding to let "non-political" career prosecutors made investigatory and charging determinations--as if bureaucrats operate without a partisan agenda??

  8. From the Daily Caller article on the Dem Senators request for investigation of Durham investigation (!):

    Committee Democrats also expressed concern about the release of any report from the Durham inquiry.

    “It remains unclear what rules and authority permit the public release of a ‘report’ by U.S. Attorney Durham, raising additional concerns about the legitimacy of his appointment and work,” they wrote in the letter to Horowitz.

    Barr has suggested that Durham may release a report of the investigation, but he has said that a report is not the goal of the probe.

    “We therefore request that your office investigate whether the Durham investigation has operated consistent with Department rules governing the appointment of U.S. Attorneys and the Department’s rules on public statements concerning pending investigations, taking action that may impact an upcoming election, and White House-Department communications concerning pending criminal investigations.”

    Biden and Harris, the vice presidential candidate, have not said whether they will allow Durham to continue his investigation if they win in November.

    Hopeful that no indictments will roll before the election, they are now spooked by hints of a report that could come out before November 3. War nerves...