Attorney General Jeff Sessions celebrated President Reagan’s 107th birthday by demonstrating how President Trump has taken up Reagan’s campaign to restore the rule of law.
In a Tuesday evening speech at the Heritage Foundation to the Reagan Alumni Association, Sessions, who was a Reagan-appointed federal prosecutor, said, “Under President Trump, we are determined to advance President Reagan’s work of restoring the rule of law.”
He cited 16 law and order changes, listed below, where the administration has moved to crack down on law-breakers like illegal immigrants and drug users and end punishing governmental policies like those under former President Obama that tried to crush conservative groups.
“We provided legal counsel to end the unlawful DACA policy,” he said.
“We don’t think illegal drug use is ‘recreation.’ Lax enforcement, permissive rhetoric, and the media have undermined the essential need to say no to drug use- don’t start. And we are identifying pill mill doctors and sending large members to the slammer,” he added
And, he said, “Our Solicitor General filed an amicus brief in support of a Colorado baker who was sued for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.”
In an advance copy of his address, Sessions recalled his days working for Reagan and former Attorney General Edwin Meese, still a towering figure in Washington. Sessions said he installed a portrait of Meese in her conference room.
“I especially want to thank Attorney General Meese for his service to this country. You led the nation’s fight against crime. You began the progress that reduced a long surging crime rate by 50 percent. It was an honor to have had you as my boss when I was a U.S. attorney.
“To this day there is nothing I am more proud of than my 14 years as a federal prosecutor. A large part of that time was under your leadership,” he said adding, “You are one of the greatest attorneys general ever to serve. You have been a role model for me. I keep your portrait on the wall of our conference room as a reminder of the example that you set.
“And I say that not only as a credit to you, but to President Reagan.”
Sessions recalled that Reagan was elected to restore law and order, even more than end the Cold War. In the end, he did both and restored the economy in a path Trump is trying to follow.
His list of 16 examples:
- First, President Trump, as you know, has nominated some fabulous judges. That’s critical to the rule of law. Last year, the Department finally settled 22 civil cases with 90 plaintiffs regarding the previous administration’s wrongful contraception mandate.
- We also agreed to settlement terms with nearly 500 plaintiffs in cases brought by groups who were targeted by the IRS when they applied for tax-exempt status, they were subject to inappropriate criteria that disproportionately impacted conservative groups.
- The Department also provided legal counsel to support agencies in this administration to end subsidies to insurance companies that Congress had not appropriated the funds for under the Affordable Care Act.
- The executive branch cannot spend money not appropriated by Congress.
- We provided legal counsel to end the unlawful DACA policy.
- Our Solicitor General filed an amicus brief in support of a Colorado baker who was sued for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
- We issued a memo to help set policy to protect the free exercise of religion.
- We are no longer allowing so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions to nullify federal immigration law if they want to receive our law enforcement grants.
- In June, I ended the practice of third party settlements.
- Under the previous Administration, the Justice Department often required settling parties to pay settlement funds to third party organizations that were not directly involved in the litigation or harmed by the defendant’s conduct. Now those funds either go to victims or to the public treasury.
- Government lawyers and bureaucrats do not have constitutional authority to appropriate taxpayer money for their favored groups.
- We have ended regulation-by-guidance, where bureaucrats would impose regulations by simply sending a letter, going outside the process required by law. We have rescinded dozens of existing regulations that were created in this unjustified manner and are studying more.
- We are hammering violent groups- especially the vicious MS-13.
- We are not going to pretend that there is not a law against marijuana, or that it’s not bad for you.
- We also honoring a directive that Ed Meese first made as Attorney General by ending regulation-by-litigation, the sue and settle abuse. Now special interests can no longer sue an agency, then get the agency to impose a new regulation as a settlement.
- We don’t think illegal drug use is “recreation”. Lax enforcement, permissive rhetoric, and the media have undermined the essential need to say no to drug use- don’t start. And we are identifying pill mill doctors and sending large members to the slammer.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org