It is better to have an attorney general nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate in an undoubtedly legal fashion than to have an acting attorney general serving in circumstances of dubious legality.
It is better to have an attorney general who is steeped in the traditions and culture of the Justice Department than to have an acting attorney general who is understood at the department to be operating as the “eyes and ears” of a president who is busily attacking the institution.
It is better to have an attorney general who has run the department before and served with distinction in other senior roles within it than to have an acting attorney general whose experience is limited to a brief stint running a relatively sleepy U.S. attorney’s office and an even briefer stint as the chief of staff to the attorney general.
And it is better to have an attorney general with a longstanding professional reputation as a lawyer to protect than to have an acting attorney general who is professionally on the make, wholly dependent on the president, and whose career has included no legal practice of any distinction or note but, instead, has included work for some rather shady outfits.
None of this is a character reference on behalf of Bill Barr, President Trump’s nominee to run the Justice Department. In fact, there are wholly legitimate reasons to be concerned about Barr’s nomination. [Continue reading…]