Barr mounts historic defense of founding principles

November 19, 2019

Attorney General William Barr has been ruffling some feathers lately — not in the capacity of top cop, but as a political philosopher.

The staid bureaucrat has been making waves with speeches defending the founding principles of the American Republic, journalist and historian Myron Magnet argues. Barr outraged the left for defending the importance of religion and morals in public life last month — and now he is facing calls for his impeachment after attacking leftists for “undermining the rule of law” and trying to usurp the Constitutional powers of the president.

Impassioned defense of founding principles

Magnet praises Barr for speaking the truth about religion’s necessity in politics at Notre Dame and at the Hudson Institute, where Barr argued last month that religion is necessary to keep society civil, prosperous and democratic. If citizens cannot control their own appetites, they can’t expect to govern themselves, Barr argued.

In a fresh speech this weekend to the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society, Barr once again proved what an “authoritarian” he is by defending the office of the president from the “Resistance” and its hunger for power. With unflinching candor, Barr ripped into the #Resistance for using “every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his Administration,” as if President Trump were “not legitimate.”

As Magnet explains, Barr connected his argument with a wider claim that presidential power has been under assault for decades by an overzealous Congress and an equally ambitious court system, both of which have sought to make the POTUS into their subordinate. Barr said that the Framers of the Constitution were less worried about presidential overreach than congressional tyranny, since Congress has the power of the purse and the president serves for only a fixed term.

Barr accused Democrats of running roughshod over the Constitution by confusing their power of “oversight” with a blank check to harass the president with “scores of parallel ‘investigations’ through an avalanche of subpoenas,” that amount to “constant harassment.” In a nod to President Trump’s constantly assailed assertions of executive authority, Barr criticized Congress and the courts for — paging Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) — construing any legitimate efforts by the president to keep matters private as a form of unlawful “obstruction.”

Barr rattles the left

As Magnet explains, Barr went on to slam the judiciary for assuming vast power over the other branches, which the Framers meant to be co-equal. It was never supposed to be that the Supreme Court had final authority in settling disputes between Congress and the White House, for example.

Barr’s point resonates in a time when Supreme Court nominations have become brutally partisan as the SCOTUS is increasingly seen as the last “non-partisan” institution that also has the final word in the American political system. Furthermore, the courts have unabashedly usurped the president’s authority in numerous policy areas, as the recent phenomenon of ‘activist judges’ unilaterally crafting national policy has shown since Trump entered office.

The AG pointed to the trend of federal district judges who have obstructed Trump’s policies by asserting nationwide powers they do not have, creating a situation in which “virtually every major policy of the Trump administration has been subjected to immediate injunctions by the lower courts.” Barr pointed to lower court intrusion on Trump’s travel ban and his desired reversal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — in the latter case, Trump has been forced to spend “almost his entire first term enforcing President Obama’s signature immigration policy.”

Ever since he was appointed, Barr has given the left reasons to hate him. His down-to-earth, common sense attitude coupled with a calm, unflappable manner, have made him a natural target of a partisan, extreme left that cannot accept any dissent.

Leftists were outraged when Barr advocated what they derisively referred to as “theocracy” when he leveled justified criticism against intolerant, militant secularists on the left who use “all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia” to undermine morality and religious freedom.

Now they’re calling for his impeachment, presumably because he defended the Constitutional authority of a president whose last name isn’t Obama. They can label Barr a “partisan,” an “authoritarian,” or “theocrat,” but the real reason they don’t like him is that he’s an unapologetic conservative who works for Trump.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.