Criminal justice reform advocates are urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to exercise greater oversight of United States Attorney nominees.
Their letter, sent Tuesday and signed by the American Conservative Union Foundation, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Right on Crime Coalition and R Street Institute, comes less than a month after the Trump administration dismissed 46 U.S. attorneys.
U.S. attorneys make up the 93 positions nationwide. After they are nominated by President Trump, the Senate Judiciary Committee must consider them and make recommendations to the full Senate about confirmation.
The letter includes questions the four groups think the Senate committee should ask all nominees, noting that prosecutors "are central to the integrity of the entire criminal proceeding."
"[T]he Senate has never even asked nominees for these positions how they will approach their job. Asking basic questions about prosecutorial philosophy should always be a part of the U.S. attorney confirmation process," Kevin Ring, FAMM President said in a statement.
"Accountability and oversight are important elements of our constitutional system. They are perhaps even more critical now, as the attorney general seems inclined to increase the federal government's role in fighting crime."
One of the questions the groups want the Judiciary Committee to ask is how the U.S. attorneys will decide if a case warrants a federal or state/local prosecution.
One of the most hot button questions is what the U.S. attorneys believe about mandatory minimum sentencing — something the Judiciary Committee attempted to reform last year. A full criminal justice reform bill failed to ever be passed by Congress and reach Former President Barack Obama's desk, despite bipartisan support.
Read the full letter below.