WASHINGTON, D.C.—People For the American Way released the following statement from PFAW Executive Vice President Marge Baker in response to President Trump’s nomination of William Barr to be the next attorney general of the United States.
The next attorney general must be committed to the rule of law and to defending the rights of all Americans.
Committing to the rule of law includes allowing Special Counsel Robert Mueller to complete his investigation without interference, including from the White House. And it means insuring the public has access to Mueller’s findings, as new polling shows more than three quarters of the American public support.
The next attorney general must also turn the page on the extreme attacks on civil rights that persisted throughout Jeff Session’s tenure in the office. Sessions reversed reforms to prevent the militarization of local police departments and rolled back attempts to curb police abuses that undermined community confidence in law enforcement. The Justice Department took new litigation positions against the rights of LGBTQ people and in defense of partisan voter suppression laws. It has even joined litigation to destroy the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, submitting a brief so unmoored from the rule of law that career attorneys refused to sign it. His budget called for gutting the Civil Rights Division at the department while increasing funding in other areas. He also tried to cut millions from the budget for the enforcement of the Violence Against Women Act and dropped any mention of disability rights enforcement. This trend away from the protection of the rights of Americans—all Americans—must end.
Senators have grounds for serious, tough questions to be asked of William Barr. He should not be made attorney general unless and until those questions are definitively answered.