Federal Courts and Nominations

CAC Opposes Nomination of William Barr for U.S. Attorney General

In order to carry out the mission of the Department of Justice, its head, the Attorney General, must have a certain set of values: a deep commitment to the core constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and fairness; a history of defending and/or advancing substantive fundamental rights; and a demonstrated willingness to respect the whole Constitution and the values therein, whatever his or her own policy preferences, or those of the President. These values are important, as they will guide the Attorney General in exercising one of his greatest powers—determining what issues, laws, regulations, and policies will receive the attention, support, and resources of the Department. As “the people’s lawyer,” the Attorney General must rise above partisan politics and, with independent fortitude and objectivity, enforce the Constitution and the rule of law fairly, even if that means standing up to the President himself.

Unfortunately, during his confirmation hearing, William P. Barr, the President’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General, did not demonstrate that he has the commitment, history, respect, and independence so required. Additionally, he said nothing to quell the concerns we first expressed to you in our recent letter dated the tenth of January. His record and testimony suggest that a Department under his stewardship would not be “fair and impartial” toward those who are among the most marginalized and at-risk in the United States, such as people of color, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants. He also failed to make sufficient commitments to assure the American people he would prevent and curb abuses of power by the government. He has not demonstrated that he possesses the independence necessary to hold the Executive Branch accountable to the rule of law. Therefore, the Constitutional Accountability Center opposes the confirmation of William Barr to be the next U.S. Attorney General.