(National Sentinel) Rule of Law: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has faced increasing calls to step down over his recusal from the “Russia collusion” investigation and criticism of criminal justice reform, redeemed himself to some critics on Thursday after pledging to rid the Executive Branch of “judicial” and “legal activism.”
“I think the department did become too political” under President Barack Obama, Sessions told Breitbart News.
“Essentially, it was executive branch legal activism. They would take cases or regulations or statutes and expand or redefine the meaning of words in them to advance the agenda that they thought ought to be advanced — an agenda that often had zero chance of passing Congress, where the elected representatives sit,” he continued.
“So you have an agenda, and you can’t get Congress to pass it, so you use unelected regulatory officials and lawyers to draft regulations and enforcement policies that carry out a political agenda that the people don’t favor,” the AG said.
“And I think that was a factor in this past [presidential] election, and it was an issue that was known to a lot of business and legal experts. They saw this as a dangerous trend.”
The former U.S. senator from Alabama singled out Obama’s DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — executive order, which essentially overrode immigration law and protected a certain class of younger illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents from being deported. Trump rescinded the order in September; Congress has until March 5 to come up with a legislative fix.
That program was a classic example of “executive branch legal activism.” Sessions then excoriated the courts for preventing President Donald J. Trump from withdrawing Obama’s policy; two federal courts have issued orders staying Trump’s rescinding action.
“[President Obama] said repeatedly that it was not legal, he couldn’t do it. Congress had took up an issue and it failed to pass. So they just did it anyway,” Sessions told Breitbart News.
“But now when we tried … to withdraw the DACA policy … we’ve been sued and judges have stopped simple withdrawal of the policy.”
He said the “biggest surprise” of his tenure as AG thus far “has been the plethora of [cases] in which a single sitting federal judge — one federal judge out of 600 some-odd — for insubstantial reasons, issues an injunction that bars the Executive Branch of the government from protecting people, and from being able to fulfill the function for which the chief executive was elected to fulfill.”
The Executive Branch cannot act as a “coequal” branch of government if it had to “gain approval of every one of 600 federal judges to carry out the policies [the President] was elected to do.”
As for Sen. Charles Grassley’s criminal reform bill, Sessions said he is a “great admirer” of the Iowa Republican but that he has some concerns about the legislation.
“I am a great admirer of Senator Grassley, and I support his immigration bill, and I support the part of his bill on crime that deals with prison reform and enhanc[ing] our re-entry programs,” he said.
However, he noted that he was worried that reform that was too drastic could lead to a rise in crime, such as was seen in the latter years of the Obama administration, Breitbart reported.
“We don’t have small offenders in federal court … these people don’t need a slap on the wrist. These are serious crimes that require serious punishment,” he said.
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