We have been treated to the specter of a highly politicized Department Of Justice. It is supposed to be the enforcers of law, the top cop, of the nation. Yet is is now a strongly political office acting to persecute one group and protect key players on the other side (presently Democrats).
Historically, the United States Attorney General has risen above party politics (at least most of the time), but now it is clearly just another Party Advocate and would be better titled Party Advocate General.
So how to fix that?
As you might guess, I have a “modest suggestion”.
Has this interesting information:
The United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the head of the United States Department of Justice per 28 U.S.C. § 503, concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government. The attorney general serves as a member of the president’s cabinet, and is the only cabinet officer who does not have the title of secretary.
The Attorney General is appointed by the President of the United States and takes office after confirmation by the United States Senate. He or she serves at the pleasure of the president and can be removed by the president at any time; the attorney general is also subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives and trial in the Senate for “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The office of Attorney General was established by Congress by the Judiciary Act of 1789. The original duties of this officer were “to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the president of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments.” Only in 1870 was the Department of Justice established to support the attorney general in the discharge of their responsibilities. The Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Defense are generally regarded as the four most important cabinet officials because of the importance of their departments.
Now as I see it, back in 1789 they were seeing the office of President as appointed by the Electoral College with votes proportional to House & Senate members (per the original method described in the original constitution) so POTUS had to be acceptable to both sides, thus POTUS appointments would also be more balanced (lest congress toss THEM out too.) Now, post changes by various States to ‘elect the electors’ by popular vote, we have a strongly political position of President making strongly political appointments to office. While I’d also roll back that ‘election of the electors’ and have The President directly selected by the Electors selected by the Several States, that would require getting 50 States to go along with the idea…
So my modest suggestion is pretty simple. Since this AG office is created by an act of congress, it can be changed by them. Congress needs to change that law to state that the candidates will be selected by the House and confirmation will come from the Senate with a 2/3 approval needed for confirmation. That way it can’t be a political office. Then that ‘serves at the pleasure’ needs to become a “of the Senate who can remove them any time they fail to get a majority re-confirmation vote”. The hysteresis between 1/2 and 2/3 gives some stability to the job so you can’t have just one or two Senators marching in one day and calling for their removal by a change of 1 or 2 votes.
Furthermore, I’d suggest a similar change for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, but that’s probably harder as it is set up by the Constitution so would take a Constitution change.
The one fly in this ointment looks like this part of the Constitution:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
So it might be that Congress can’t do the choosing as the list is only: President, Courts, Dept. Heads. Or it might be interpreted as examples following the broad actual limit of “as they think proper”… The Supremes will need to sort that one.
So it might be that they can’t make the nomination themselves. In that case, I’d have the AG nominees selected by the Courts. Which ones? Well…. I could see using The Supremes, but that has the risk of a packed court biasing things for decades. I suppose it might be more interesting to have the various Federal Districts select the nominee with a 2/3 vote. Again to assure they were acceptable to a broad base.
Frankly, I think this “appointment power stripping” ought to be applied widely to Presidential appointments. The degree of politicizing that goes on now is just too far beyond the pale. So I’d apply it to the head of the IRS, too. Perhaps have them appointed by the Courts too…
Fractious? Sure, but that’s the whole point of our original design of Government. To have folks fighting to a shared set of values broadly acceptable to the body as a whole.
As it stands now, someone “captures the flag” of the Presidency, and holds it for a few terms, they can cause extreme politicizing of the operational wings of our Government, and that was never supposed to be the case. As evidence, see Barry Obummer… or Bily Boy Clinton purging the Justice Department.
We need to make space for the non-partisan career worker. The legal department and tax collection in particular ought not to have a political spin or bias to them. To do that, they can’t be political appointments of one person in the oval office.
As I read the constitution, the Congress has the power to shift just where those appointments originate.
When queried about his misuse of government facilities for electioneering, Al Gore said “There is no controlling authority, therefor no crime”
As long as government people have no risk for ignoring the laws that govern their conduct they will do as they please, they are immune to consiquences for their actions. Far too many of them have no honor. There needs to be an independent controlling authority that can enforce real consiquences. on these political animals…pg
I would like to see citizens granted the right to call a Grand Jury as needed. This would get around the politics.
“I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, 1789.
“It is left… to the juries, if they think the permanent judges are under any bias whatever in any cause, to take on themselves to judge the law as well as the fact. They never exercise this power but when they suspect partiality in the judges; and by the exercise of this power they have been the firmest bulwarks of English liberty.” –Thomas Jefferson to Abbe Arnoux, 1789.
In the case of Hillary and the Clinton Foundation, Charles Ortel is gathering evidence and planning to go one or more states. The president CAN NOT pardon criminals convicted of state crimes.
Unfortunately in our system of government several very important department heads are primarily controlled by indirect soft controls. Things like a sense of honor by the appointee to be “above politics”, public pressure mediated by a watchful media, tradition of non-political behavior. Those only work for honorable people who are capable of feeling shame or embarrassment and at least one major media outlet that at least attempts to be neutral. When you have a confluence of failure in all those dimensions, those offices (IRS, Attoney General, FBI director etc.) quickly devolve to demigods tempered only by their own ethics and moral obligations.
Corruption is like a slow moving disease which in time slowly creeps through the body politic, so that over time the internal restraint of other ethical employees and their internal protests of outrageous actions gradually disappears, then there is not internal or external soft controls. The only remaining control would be an outside authority with the power to dismiss the department head for outrageous actions.
That is supposed to be the function of impeachment actions by the congress, but even they have now become so corrupt and political that they will not invoke their statutory duty to pull in the reins on an out of control department head.
I am not sure the changes you suggest are possible to implement in a highly political culture with low ethical standards, but we certainly need to look for ways to apply corrective pressure on government to restrain outrageous political behavior.
We have seen this before at state level politics with the corrupt political machines of the past, Tammany Hall, Huey Long, Mayor Daley etc. All of them were eventually controlled by public outrage in one form or another but that often is a slow process.
One of the moves made by the progressives (LBJ) was to silence the churches via the tax code change 501c3.
A second move by the progressives (Fabians) was to destroy farming and country towns thus making Americans itinerant workers without community support. link
And the last the destruction of the family, especially black families via welfare.
Destruction of the black family
We do children’s entertainment. The difference between small town or church events and city events is amazing. With churches esp. children are not allowed to misbehave and will be corrected by ANY ADULT in the area. This training in morality,found in cohesive judeo-christian towns, is what is now missing.
The idea that a swat on the rump or yelling at a child is somehow ‘child abuse’ is also idiotic.
Young animals learn through positive and negative feed back and it is ridiculous to wrap kids in cotton batting and then expect them to become normal adults.
For example CAGW is just another ‘Blame the Other Guy’ (instead of your poor judgement) — aka Scapegoating which was brought into vogue starting with Sigmund Freud**, the father of psychoanalysis. For years we have moved away from the point of view that the individual is responsible for themselves to the view point that your parents, your teachers and your community is responsible for everything that has gone wrong for or with you. This results in lack of ethics, honesty and a moral compass.
This article is a good example of the type of thinking I am talking about. The person switched from psychology to sociology because they did not like the idea of individualism or the positive effects of adversity.
Put another way I would say that mental illness (even physical illness) of any form is never sourced in the individual alone, but in the relations and context that surround us. EQUALS Blame The Other DUDE!
And if you think about it Blame The Other DUDE is what the Progressives use as their major weapon.
What are Blacks now taught? Self sufficiency, drag yourself up by the bootstraps??? HECK NO! If you do not get what you want, blame Whitey and yell RACIST!
The problem is Blame The Other DUDE for your problems and short comings is very very seductive which is why it works so well.
And here is the final part of the essay which shows where all this is headed:
And then we will live forever more in the land of lollipops, rainbows and unicorns or at least in our university safe spaces.
I guess this guy forgot Man is the KILLER Ape, a PREDATOR and snowflakes living in their safe spaces who have never heard a harsh word have no defence what so ever against bullies or tyrants. Of course that is just what you want in a serf/slave class.
** Knowing WHY you hate dogs or fear heights is very very useful in dealing with that fear. But it is still up to YOU to do the dealing instead of blaming someone else and letting it go at that. Also wrapping children up in cotton batting and never allowing them to face hard reality gives us the child-adults we now see populating our universities.
LEADERSHIP: 6 Things I’m Glad I learned About Adversity
“The participants who scored the highest in wellbeing were those reporting two to six stressful events….”
Well ranchers ought to be in the top eshelon then
And farmers and loggers too among others.
Notice cops are way down there at number 15. Pilots is something new on the list. All those nice Chinese parts and moooslim work place violence I guess.
Top Twenty most dangerous jobs.
1 Logging workers
2 Fishers and related fishing workers
3 Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
5 Refuse and recyclable material collectors
6 Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
7 Structural iron and steel workers
8 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
9 Electrical power-line installers and repairers
10 Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
11 First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
12 Construction laborers
13 First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers
14 Maintenance and repairs workers, general
15 Police and sheriff’s patrol officers
16 Grounds maintenance workers
17 First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers
18 Painters, construction and maintenance
20 Telecommunications line installers and repairers
Obviously very low “feelings of wellbeing” among politicians then
You are right about the lack of consequences.
Contrast our government with the Republic Of China. Both have an Executive, a Legislature and a Judiciary.
The ROC takes government corruption very seriously as evidenced by the harsh penalties available for misuse of office, including death by firing squad.
The ROC has a fourth branch of government that exists to oversee the other three. This branch is known as the Control Yuan or the Ministry of Audit.
With a Control Yuan the Clinton’s would have been jailed for stealing the White House furniture. Their current crimes of influence peddling would likely qualify for death sentences if convicted. Under our system will they even be indicted?
Gallopingcamel, The R.O.C. 4th branch,Ministry of Audit is something that should be considered.
Originally bureaucrats and politicians could be personally held accountable for their actions or the results of their actions just like citizens, but in the 1970s they passed a federal law that exempted themselves. This codified the habit of the judiciary to protect government officials from legal actions. For all practical purposes the Judiciary is immune and protected. This is passed on to assume all government officials are “Honorable” and therefore protected.
By legal definition “Not responsible for their actions” or “Mentally Incompetent.”
An Independent body that could only STOP government actions and punish malefactors is the missing part to honorable governance. Like a lock, to keep honest people honest…pg
A special prosecutor could be appointed, however they are political actors and not truly an impartial, separate watchdog.
I like Gail’s idea of citizens calling a grand jury but how long would it be before the ‘Community Organizers’ took over?
And the problem still remains as to how to return power to the lowest level of government sufficient to solve a particular issue. I actually think the place to start is to eliminate omnibus bills in Congress; one issue, one law or resolution, one vote. When constituents can see how their congress-critters voted on the goofy stuff that is normally hidden inside some other bill, I believe we’ll have a lot more 1 or 2-term citizen legislators.
This, “You’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it” has got to go and the cover provided by bills covering multiple issues has to be eliminated. (To the home crowd: “I didn’t want to vote for that provision, but there were two other things that needed to pass so I voted for the bill.”)
Oops! Sorry. I wandered a bit from the topic of reforming the DOJ, but nothing will happen until Congress is reformed and truly under the control of ‘the people.’
-Shall I remind everyone of Article V? I shall, for those of us here have the opportunity to help bring about a convention of the states.
Politicalizing the DOJ has not succeeded in hiding truth:
It’s interesting that we now have a candidate who has never held office before. I have had concerns about someone who has no political experience because it is difficult to test present positions with past actions.
Nevertheless, through a series of emails with my daughter, I have learned that Donald J Trump has in fact been targeted by the d oj in a setup to try to prosecute the trumps under the then- newly passed equal housing act.
He has also been accused of tax evasion.
So in my view, Donald J Trump has exactly the experience that is most important for a president to have at this time in history. So many small businesses and farmers have had assets seized by the IRS. The epa has harassed land owners and businesses over water on their property, and other federal agencies have hit small manufacturers with outrageous fees for expired patent numbers on their inventory. The BLM has taken water from ranchers and miners in nevada and routed it by pipeline to las vegas. Americans face increasing threat from these politicised agencies, and with debt in the trillions? We’re all tax evaders now.
So that settles it. Donald J Trump is experienced — he has been on the receiving end of these predatory federal bureacracies, like far too many Americans.
cdquarles says: “-Shall I remind everyone of Article V? I shall, for those of us here have the opportunity to help bring about a convention of the states.”
That is a VERY BAD IDEA!
“If there is an Article V convention, we will lose the Constitution we have, and another Constitution will be imposed.” Open Letter to State Legislators Everywhere: The Other Side of the Article V Convention Issue
Also See The “Convention of States” Scam By Publius Huldah
The Dangers of an Article V Convention of States
The “fly” in the ointment here is that congress has been impotent for the past 20 years. Clinton started it (the media facilitated it), but as we have seen in the past 4 years, they are merely a rubber stamp for the jerk in the oval office. I like your idea, but it is 25 years too late.
Phil make that the last 100 years. Ever since the Federal Reserve was given the ‘right’ to print the US currency they have been bribing or intimidating or even killing those who do not go along.
Top Senate Democrat: bankers “own” the U.S. Congress
My feelings about Article V is the same, I don’t trust the folks who would participate in the convention. There is literally no control over the out come by the average citizen so you would be reaching into a bag of goodies blindfolded. I fear the odds of the outcome being worse than the present is very nearly 100%.
Put it this way if you were going to choose 20 or 30 current political power brokers to completely re-write the constitution, who would you trust enough to get them cart blanch permission to create a new Constitution?
@Larry Ledwick. While I have heard that said many times (Article V), the reality is that where we are is worse. At least an Article V convention would be BY the states. And any revisions/rewriting would require 38 states. And there are a lot more small states than big ones.
I say give it a shot.
Regarding the OP idea, how exactly do you propose to get around the requirement that officers of the united states be nominated by the president? I see any attempt at making such a change producing years of chaos.
Even some positions one would think internal to the legislature (a prime example being the Librarian of Congress) are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Each house of congress may have the power to name officers internal to their operation under the rule-making authority but not even officers the two houses share let alone someone purporting to act for the US government as a whole.
Now, if you are suggesting a constitutional amendment to make such a change that is fine but I do believe it complete fantasy (even more than what is already proposed).
Please make sure you listen to Publius Huldah. As she says The convention means the ENTIRE Constitution gets rewritten. This is of course what the Globalists want. They want the USA to adopt the constitution written by the UN.
As Publius Huldah said there is an alternative method of changing the Constitution and it is the method that has always been used.
So thank you but NO, I am NOT willing to give it a shot and find we end up with a soviet style dictatorship with no Bill of Rights.
Gail, I know the possibility EXISTS (it is not a given) that the entire document will be rewritten. BUT, as I said, there are a lot more small states than big ones, and you STILL have to get 38 to agree. I do not see 38 agreeing on rewriting it, just tinkering with it – and even then it would be very difficult as there are enough BIG states to prevent the 38 as well.
That is why I am not afraid of an Article V. Probably just another impotent gesture, but perhaps it might rattled a few cages.
I generally interpret “topic” broadly. Like “Politics” vs “Tech” vs “Climate / Weather stuff” vs… so if a thread has a politics angle in it, pretty much anything on that angle ‘fits’… so not off topic.
@All, per Article 5:
It helps to read it (bold mine):
Now 3/4 is a very high hurdle, so I don’t think you will get much crap out of a Convention. But at the same time, 1/4 is a very low hurdle, so I don’t see where much effective can get done.
We’re talking 50 / 4 = 12.5 States.
Now it is the legislatures of those States that matter, so by the map here:
under “map interpretation” of the States Legislatures, I count about 13 as solidly blue states (ignoring the blue in PR, VI, Guam, etc). Those being Ca, Or, Mn Ia, Il, Vt, Ma, RI, Ct, NJ, De, Md, and Hi. Note that NY is not on the list. It is technically ‘red’ at the moment… but I’d expect it to vote with the Democrat dominated States.
So I have just two things to note:
1) There is NO limit on what the Convention can consider once called. The act of calling it is disjoint from what it may due per the Constitution.
2) There is NO chance for any hard core reversion to weak republic federation from strong democratic Central Authority given those 13 States listed (and probably NY and more).
So IMHO it’s all just a nice bit of fooling yourself to think anything would be done, or would cause significant change. At best you might get the 13 demanding an ERA in exchange for something essentially useless like a budget deadline.
As noted in the quote in the article (bolded):
Congress can set it to be courts, or heads of departments. It is only that congress has let The President do it by tradition…
So Congress can take any office not enumerated in The Constitution and give the appointment power to any of three choices, without a change of the constitution and only by passing a law with a veto proof majority.
Well, Gail, the Article V process was created with the possibility of what we are seeing today in mind. Could a convention of the States rewrite the Constitution? Sure, yet it is being rewritten right now and not by either of the lawful processes. As I see it, we have nothing to lose by going that route. It gives ‘We the People’ the means to affect things via who we select locally. The State process bypasses Congress completely and that is a plus to me. Any change would have to have fewer than 14 no votes. Otherwise, will it not come to bloodshed, which it might anyway?
Very good point! And if Hillary is elected, the Constitution becomes a worthless document (Buzzy has already spit on it).
So let’s pretend (although I agree with EM that the likelihood of any significant revisions is almost nil) that there is a 50-50 shot of it being thrown out.
What difference at this point (after the election of Hillary) does it make?
The base question is do you trust your state to represent what you consider good governance?
Given the experience here in Colorado where a small group of billionaires shifted the states politics from red to blue in just a few years with a systematic application of money and propaganda.
There is no reason to think a constitutional convention would fare any better than Fracking bans, Global Warming, or BLM campaigns. The rich liberals would literally throw the kitchen sink at the system to control the Article 5 process.
Until we get some local control back in politics, it would be a self inflicted suicide strategy to hold an article V effort to “update the Constitution”, especially since the Democrats have been pushing for updated interpretations for decades on highly controversial issues like Commerce Clause,.Second and First amendment tweaks on gun rights and religious freedom/freedom of speech, abolishing the electoral college and going to a pure democracy majority vote where voter manipulation goes nuclear and voting block pandering neutralizes rational voters.
This is almost funny given that Obama sent political activists to Israel to try and prevent Bebe from getting re-elected.
Beware this is the plan B, scream voter manipulation and hang a Russian goose around Republican necks, as cover for the Democrats century long history of election tampering.
They will try to create a “common knowledge” perception in the public that Republicans are suppressing votes (already active on that one to shut down attempts to limit undocumented voter fraud), and establish a perception that Republicans are shredding/burning ballots in the back room (which Democrats have actually been caught doing)
This state is “blue” every 4 years now. However, the HOUSE of this state (from which the delegates would be selected) is solid RED. They are only marginally better than the democrats, but they are better than a stacked SCOTUS.
Not sure where this belongs since it applies to several threads
Dept of State releasing “deleted emails” which show HRC deleted emails which were responsive to federal court orders and congressional subpoenas
Related to above
Interesting take on why Russia would prefer Trump to Hillary. (keep in mind the Clinton’s / Gore were in deep with China during the Clinton administration, perhaps they think she is beholding to China)
The thing I find interesting in the above article is the view on Soros. I always thought Soros was some sort of Russian shill like Armand Hammer, but apparently (if this is to be believed) they see him as a dangerous globalist and not a fellow traveler. If true that changes my views on a few things.
Russia has a warrant out for Soros arrest. I am sure that is why Soros does not want Trump and closer relations with Russia.
Vladimir Putin: Russia Issues International Arrest Warrant For Rothschild & Soros!
(Includes video I have not watched.)
Re most recent link: Nice find!
I followed the link and the article makes sense. Some months ago (still stumping for the nomination?), Trump said he was willing and eager to negotiate with Putin while “Putting America First.” I have always believed that the Russians are pragmatic and Putin is willing to deal with someone who understands that Putin will “Put Russia First.” They can properly sort out the no-harm, no-foul issues that are festering due to the current administration’s ineptitude in dealing with the Russians. Then we’ll see who is really the master of “The Art of The Deal” as they negotiate more intractable issues. But the objective of both will to be to avoid pointless wars.
Per Trumps speech today, I’m sure Putin sees Trump’s proposed military buildup as a practical move for someone who wants to deal from a position of strength. From the article, I’m gathering that Putin expects Cold War II from Clinton waged with subterfuge and treachery. Not that skullduggery will cease regardless of who is president of the US, but again, pointless confrontations will be reduced dealing with Trump.
And… there always is the possibility that “The Dog Talker” is actually loony-tunes.
Thanks again for the link.
That Foreign Policy (dot) com article was an eye opener. It is owned by the Washington Post Company which changed owners.
It is now owned by Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos who hates Trump. Amazon boss who owns Washington Post unleashes on Trump for claiming he’s using the paper to attack Republican candidate
As I read that text it limits Congressional choice about how offices are to be filled. There are a few that the constitution directly states how they are to be filled (president, vice-president, the members of congress but notably not judges), — these are the offices being referred to with the “whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided” language.
For all others the three choices other than presidential nomination and Senate confirmation are to allow the president to fill the office alone, to have the courts appoint someone or to have a department head do so. I don’t see any of those allowing for nomination by the House followed by Senate confirmation. Congress gets to create (or abolish) the offices themselves but are constrained when it comes to the manner of filling them.
Oh, yeah, I was answering “are there other ways ” while you were questioning some of the specific alternatives I’d tossed out as ideas. I noted some things would need a constitution change, but wasn’t clearly sorting those from the ones that don’t (like judges appointing that the constitution enumerates).
Interesting bit coming out in the latest hacking release — So just where did Jeh Johnson get half a million dollars to donate to the DNC?
If he really is worth between $11.2 and $51.5 million he must have been a very successful attorney before he moved to the Government payroll.
He either had some very lucrative side jobs, married money, or made an absolutely prodigious income while working in private practice for 5-6 years
Graduated Columbia Law 1982
Johnson began as an associate at Paul, Weiss in November 1984. (private practice 5 years)
In 1989 he left to serve as an assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, a position he held until the end of 1991. (2 years)
In that position, Johnson prosecuted public corruption cases. With 5 years prior experience, Salary range from $59,813 to $101,682 (max possible after 9+ years experience of $135,519/year)
From 1998 to 2001, he was General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force under President Bill Clinton. Level IV pay of $160,300/ year (2016)
On January 8, 2009, he was named by President Barack Obama to be General Counsel for the Defense Department. Level IV pay of $160,300/ year (2016)
In December 2012, he resigned this position effective at the end of the year to return to private practice.
Johnson was a partner at the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP,
in which he was the first African American elected partner and to which he returned after his four years at the Defense Department. (10 months in private practice)
October 18, 2013, Johnson was nominated by President Obama to be Secretary of Homeland Security. Level I pay of$205,700/year (2016)