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Replacing 46 political appointees at Justice? Exactly what Trump and Sessions should have done!

Sunday, March 12, 2017 14:34
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Andrew McCarthy writes,

…Resources are finite. Administrations must choose how many assets to dedicate to counterterrorism, immigration enforcement, health-care fraud, organized crime, and so on. Should the feds focus on the importation of illegal narcotics and their distribution by interstate criminal syndicates? Or should prosecutors and agents team up with state agencies to tackle street-level trafficking? Are the civil-rights laws an enforcement measure to protect fundamental liberties? Or are they a social-justice tool for transforming nationwide policing practices?

U.S. attorneys are the instruments through which the president exercises his policy discretion. That is why they are political appointees. They do not have power of their own. Under our Constitution, all executive power is reposed in the president alone. Every officer of the executive branch is thus a delegate. The U.S. attorney exercises the president’s power and can be removed at the president’s will.

Nowadays, there is unprecedented policy consequence in the execution of federal law enforcement, as much in the civil as in the criminal arena. It matters more than ever that the president has his appointees, who are chosen because they support his policy preferences. If Donald Trump has determined that the immigration laws must be enforced, and has won an election with that as a signature issue, why would he retain the U.S. attorneys Barack Obama appointed — prosecutors plainly sympathetic to Obama’s non-enforcement policies?

Why would he keep in place Obama’s Justice Department appointees when the first notable action taken by the one of highest rank, acting attorney general Sally Yates, was the insubordinate refusal to defend a lawfully issued executive order endorsed by Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel?

But when Clinton purged his 93 in ’93, that altered expectations forever.

…After taking office as attorney general in 2009, Eric Holder explained that the newly elected Barack Obama would soon announce “our first batch of U.S. attorneys” to supplant Bush incumbents. Elaborating, he matter-of-factly said, “Elections matter. It is our intention to have the U.S. attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as [we] can.” The Bush appointees were replaced — not because they did a bad job but because that is what presidents do. They have their own enforcement priorities, and they have every right — subject to the Senate’s advice and consent — to have their own U.S. attorneys executing those priorities. That is exactly what President Trump has done. It is also exactly what he should have done.

Read more here.


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