My friends Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, opined on Thursday that the time has come for a new person to serve as attorney general.
I disagree with their opinion. I believe Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the right man in the right place at the right time to restore respect in America for the Rule of Law.
In fact, I assert that he is already making a positive difference.
In measuring Sessions’ performance in office to date, it is important to remember two things: 1) the political climate he faced within the Department of Justice upon accepting President Trump’s offer to serve, and 2) that Sessions is currently constrained by the fact that he is compelled to wait for the inspector general to complete his ongoing internal review.
I remind my friends that for eight years, lawless former President Barack Obama sought to corrupt our most important legal traditions and institutions, including the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Obama unilaterally imposed unconstitutional immigration measures such as DACA and DAPA by executive order. He made the fact that he had been entrusted with “a pen and a phone” the defining governing principle of his administration. He appointed politicized hacks like former Attorney General Eric Holder, the first sitting Cabinet official ever to be held in contempt of Congress, and former FBI Director James Comey, a man who used weaponized leaks of confidential material against the current president.
The list of Obama’s affronts to the Rule of Law is practically endless.
Into this corrosive environment stepped Jeff Sessions.
He could have stayed in the Senate. Beloved by the people of Alabama for his faithful service to them, Sessions had what most Congress-watchers viewed as a “lifetime” hold on his Senate seat. But the conservative Sessions understood that the liberal Obama presidency had placed America’s tradition as a government of laws and not of men uniquely at risk. He felt obliged to serve this new administration, to do what he could to restore our foundational principles.
As he put it in his statement announcing the recension of the unconstitutional Obama-era DACA program:
We inherited from our Founders- and have advanced- an unsurpassed legal heritage, which is the foundation of our freedom, our safety, and prosperity. As the Attorney General, it is my duty to ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced and that the Constitutional order is upheld. No greater good can be done for the overall health and well-being of our Republic than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law.
Sessions gets it. He understands the necessity of preserving the Rule of Law and of rectifying Obama-era abuses. Look at just some of the things the Justice Department has already done to erase Obama’s corrosive legacy and to restore the Rule of Law:
- The DoJ won a 7-2 victory at the Supreme Court in support of President Trump's existing legal authority to implement a Travel Ban designed to safeguard the homeland.
- The DoJ led efforts to rescind the unconstitutional DACA program that sought to provide legal status and work permits to illegal aliens.
- The DoJ argued in favor of religious liberty at the Supreme Court, siding with a Christian baker’s First Amendment right to not participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies which violate his religious beliefs.
- The DoJ settled lawsuits with 96 plaintiffs who claimed the Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate unlawfully burdened their religious rights. The settlement permanently exempts these plaintiffs from the Obamacare mandate.
- The DoJ has worked to protect the free speech right of students on university campuses.
- The DoJ is working to end the payment of taxpayer-funded grants to Sanctuary Cities that defy the nation’s immigration laws.
- The DoJ is seeking to deliver justice to the family of Kate Steinle by prosecuting her illegal alien killer for the federal crimes of being a felon in possession of a firearm and an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
Could you imagine any of these significant actions having been taken with someone else at the helm? Each of them required a significant break with the philosophical direction of the Obama years. Each of them required a man willing to stand up against progressive orthodoxy and liberal media criticism. Each of them required a conservative with the proven mettle of Jeff Sessions to accomplish.
All these important conservative victories and Sessions hasn’t even been attorney general for a year. I’m not tired of winning yet! I don’t think Reps. Meadows and Jordan really are either.
I think it is premature for my friends to blame Sessions for their frustrations, which I share, about the ways in which both the DoJ and the FBI have acted in the Clinton e-mail criminal investigation and the Mueller “collusion” investigation.
My understanding is that the inspector general has been exploring accusations of political bias within these agencies, and that the IG’s findings are going to be released in short order. Once the IG’s report is received by the attorney general, limitations that are currently placed on Sessions will be lifted and he will be able to make the kinds of changes that will be necessary to regain the public’s trust in the administration of justice in this country.
I trust Jeff Sessions, a man who has devoted his life’s work to the Rule of Law, to implement corrective actions that may be identified to ensure that Obama’s efforts to politicize justice are reversed. Sessions’ record to date has earned him this trust.
Jeff Sessions is the right man, in the right place, at the right time, to restore respect for the Rule of Law after eight years of Obama’s destruction. He is already doing it. I look forward to him continuing to do so.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, represents Iowa’s 4th congressional district. He is a member of the House Judiciary, Agriculture, and Small Business committees.