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?