U.S. Attorney General William Barr strongly criticized the Democrats for engaging in “the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law.”
In his address to the 2019 National Lawyers’ Convention, Barr noted that in recent decades the idea that the Legislature and the judiciary should “invade” the powers of the executive gained ground.
The Barr recalled that the authors of the U.S. Constitution “expected that the three branches would be jostling and jousting with each other, as each threatened to encroach on the prerogatives of the others,” according to the New York Post.
He added that those who thought of this model of nation thought that this division of powers was “natural” and “salutary.”
“[But] I am concerned that the deck has become stacked against the executive,” Barr reflected before the auditorium of the Federalist Society.
“Unfortunately, over the past several decades, we have seen steady encroachment on presidential authority by the other branches of government. This process, I think, has substantially weakened the functioning of the executive branch, to the detriment of the nation.”
The Constitution was adopted in its original form more than two centuries ago, yet, Barr said, since the mid-1960s there has been a “steady grinding down of the executive branch’s authority,” which accelerated after the Watergate scandal.
“More and more, the president’s ability to act in areas in which he has discretion has become smothered by the encroachments of the other branches,” he said.
In this sense, he explained that there are two major contemporary notions that collaborated to bring about this phenomenon: The first is the idea that the legislative and judicial branches protect “liberty by imposing restrictions on the executive.”
On the other hand, there is the notion that each branch does not have clearly defined powers, but “shares” them.
In short, “The idea at work here is that, because two branches both have a role to play in a particular area, we should see them as sharing power in that area, and it is not such a big deal if one branch expands its role within that sphere at the expense of the other,” Barr said.
Obstruction of the left under President Trump
The Senate is the institution that must ratify officials proposed by the president.
However, since he assumed the presidency of the United States in January 2017, Donald Trump has seen how the Democratic opposition from the legislative branch has tried to hinder the functioning of his administration.
Barr explained that the Senate was given the power to reject unqualified candidates, “but that power was never intended to allow the Senate to systematically oppose and draw out the approval process for every appointee so as to prevent the president from building a functional government.”
In September of this year, the Senate attempted to obstruct the nomination of 236 Trump administration nominees “meant only to delay an inevitable confirmation,” the attorney general explained.
Although the Republican Party is currently a minority in the House of Representatives, it has a majority in the Senate.
“It is reasonable to wonder whether a future president will actually be able to form a functioning administration if his or her party does not hold the Senate,” Barr reflected.
The ‘religion’ of the left
“In waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of “resistance” against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law,” Barr said of the actions of the Democratic Party.
The attorney general determined that progressives “treat politics as their religion.”
“Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection,” he said.
“Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end,” he added.
He explained that left-wing politicians are prepared to use all the means necessary to obtain a momentary advantage in pursuit of their objective, regardless of the collateral consequences.
“They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides,” he added.
In this point he made a difference with conservatives, who tend to have more “scruples” over their political tactics and “rarely feel that the end justifies the means. And this is as it should be,” he said.
“But there is no getting around the fact that this puts conservatives at a disadvantage when facing progressive holy war, especially when doing so under the weight of a hyper-partisan media,” he concluded.