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Thu Nov 8, 2018, 10:21 PM

Acting Attorney General Once Declared Courts 'Inferior' and Criticized Supreme Court's Power (NYT)


Acting Attorney General Once Declared Courts ‘Inferior’ and Criticized Supreme Court’s Power
By Charlie Savage
Nov. 8, 2018

WASHINGTON — The acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, once espoused the view that the courts “are supposed to be the inferior branch” and criticized the Supreme Court’s power to review legislative and executive acts and declare them unconstitutional, the lifeblood of its existence as a coequal branch of government.

In a Q. and A. when he sought the Republican nomination for senator in Iowa in 2014, Mr. Whitaker indicated that he shared the belief among some conservatives that the federal judiciary has too much power over public policy. He criticized many of the Supreme Court’s rulings, beginning with a foundational one: Marbury v. Madison, which established its power of judicial review in 1803.

“There are so many” bad rulings, Mr. Whitaker said. “I would start with the idea of Marbury v. Madison. That’s probably a good place to start and the way it’s looked at the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of constitutional issues.”

The interview was among evidence that shed new light on Mr. Whitaker’s views, including disparagement of the Russia investigation, which he now oversees, and an expansive view of presidential power. Congressional aides, journalists and other observers scoured his record after Mr. Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday and replaced him with Mr. Whitaker, instantly raising questions about whether the president wanted a loyalist in charge at the Justice Department with the power to end the Russia investigation.

Though Democrats called on Mr. Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any of Mr. Trump’s associates conspired, the Justice Department has said he will supervise Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. Past statements suggest that Mr. Whitaker has already made up his mind that the investigation will fail to show that Mr. Trump or his advisers aided Russia’s disruption.

“The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign,” Mr. Whitaker said in an interview on “The Wilkow Majority,” a conservative political talk radio show, in summer 2017. His remarks were reported earlier by The Daily Beast.

“There was interference by the Russians into the election, but that is not collusion with the campaign,” he added, views that dovetailed with Mr. Trump’s longstanding complaints about the investigation. “That’s where the left seems to be just combining those two issues.”

He also argued last year that the president could not have obstructed justice by asking the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to end an investigation into his first national security adviser, a broad notion of executive power that Mr. Trump’s lawyers have also embraced. Mr. Whitaker dismissed the outcry over Mr. Trump’s request as overkill during a radio interview in June 2017 on the conservative “David Webb Show.”

“This hyperventilation of what we see here is just, I don’t think, sustainable based on these facts,” he said in comments reported earlier by Mother Jones. And he once said Mr. Mueller’s appointment “smells a little fishy,” according to a radio segment unearthed by CNN.


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Reply Acting Attorney General Once Declared Courts 'Inferior' and Criticized Supreme Court's Power (NYT) (Original post)
dalton99a Nov 8 OP
Ms. Toad Nov 8 #1

Response to dalton99a (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2018, 10:54 PM

1. Guess he fell asleep in Con Law class

during the likely multi-day discussion on Marbury v. Madison

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