Acting attorney general opposes principal of constitutional checks and balances

By | November 8, 2018

The New York Times reports:

The acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, once espoused the view that the courts “are supposed to be the inferior branch” and criticized the Supreme Court’s power to review legislative and executive acts and declare them unconstitutional, the lifeblood of its existence as a coequal branch of government.

In a candidate Q. and A. when he sought the Republican nomination for senator in Iowa in 2014, Mr. Whitaker indicated that he shared the view among some conservatives that the federal judiciary has too much power over public policy issues. He criticized many of the Supreme Court’s rulings, starting with a foundational one: Marbury v. Madison, which established its power of judicial review in 1803.

“There are so many” bad rulings, Mr. Whitaker said. “I would start with the idea of Marbury v. Madison. That’s probably a good place to start and the way it’s looked at the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of constitutional issues.”

Mr. Whitaker lost the 2014 primary to Joni Ernst, who went on to win election to the Senate. But on Wednesday, he vaulted to power when President Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointed Mr. Whitaker as the acting attorney general, putting him in charge of the Justice Department.

Because Mr. Trump installed Mr. Whitaker as the nation’s top law enforcement official without undergoing the vetting process of a Senate confirmation hearing, his answers to the 2014 candidate questionnaire, published by Jacob Hall on the Caffeinated Thoughts website alongside answers by the other Republican primary contenders, offer a rare window into how he thinks about legal issues. [Continue reading…]

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