The Attorney General – Your Public Servant

February 11th, 2017

I have enough regard for Elizabeth Warren to have sent her a plan for helping the homeless at minimal public expense. Her observations are generally ‘on point’ so I have to admit to some degree of puzzlement about her congressional grand-standing over the appointment of Jeff Sessions to the office of attorney general.

The sacrifices of minorities and the visionaries who spurred us onward are always to be remembered. However, the congress needed to hear data on Mr. Session’s litigation record along with ratios of ‘charges brought to cases fought’. Attorneys litigate the cases easily won and avoid those they stand to lose. Racism is relevant but his record, rather than commentary about his record, is required for official review. Had those statistics been presented, Ms. Warren would have retained the floor and possibly been more influential.

However, this position is not one that will pose a threat to the public because of the duties involved. The attorney general protects the government from charges of malfeasance. He or she advises the federal government whenever legal actions/orders open up the government to possible litigation on the basis of constitutionality or other issue. Should the public interest be at all threatened when Sessions leaves a new order in place, a suit may be filed to challenge the law in question.

The role is not one of absolute rule with the citizenry always retaining the option of challenging laws and executive orders. Attorney Alan Dershowitz states (below) that the President is required to have counsel regarding his orders and bill approvals. Given the fact that the Federal Government will have minimal funds to distribute to the states makes the actions of State officials primary in carrying out policies. States will definitely make appropriate appeals wherever federal rulings are onerous to the state budget and/or the will of their voters.

Categories: commentary

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