Klukowski: Media Panics over Sessions’ Success at Justice Department

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on immigration at the Justice Department September 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced that the Trump Administration is ending the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protect those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, with a …
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Washington, DC

Establishment media elites at the Washington Post recently attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a full-length editorial piece disguised as a news report.

They criticize Sessions for adhering to conservative principles, being faithful to the historically lawful role of the attorney general’s office, and carrying out President Donald Trump’s agenda. In short, the Post hits Sessions for doing his job.

Although they likely did not mean it as a compliment, the Jeff Bezos-owned Post’s writers admit, “Supporters and critics say the attorney general has been among the most effective of the Cabinet secretaries.” The authors then go through a laundry list of items from Sessions and the Department of Justice (DOJ) he leads, all consistent with the president’s MAGA agenda that Americans voted for in November 2016.

The Post paints as controversial Sessions’ defending President Trump’s executive orders on immigration restrictions from terror-prone nations and restricting federal grants to sanctuary cities (Executive Orders 13780 and 13768, respectively), despite the fact that those are mainstream legal positions that may well prevail in court on appeal.

(The president mostly won at the Supreme Court on the travel ban executive order, but now his permanent travel policy, codified in Presidential Proclamation 9645, is also being challenged in court. Sanctuary cities funding is also tied up in ongoing litigation.)

Predictably, the Post’s hyperventilating is at its most anguished when discussing elections and LGBT issues. It writes:

Sessions has even adjusted the department’s legal stances in cases involving voting rights and [LGBT] issues in a way that advocates warn might disenfranchise poor minorities and give certain religious people a license to discriminate.

The writers cite as a key example DOJ’s filing of an amicus brief at the Supreme Court supporting Jack Phillips, the Christian baker in Colorado who declined to custom-design a wedding cake to celebrate same-sex marriage. But the article mentions not a word about Phillips’ claiming his own First Amendment civil rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion, which Sessions supported in DOJ’s brief in that case.

On a related note, the Post says Sessions reversed Obama-era DOJ guidance that transgenderism is protected under Title VII (employment) and Title IX (schools) in federal law. However, DOJ instead pointed out correctly that the term “sex” in those statues unquestionably referred to biological sex in 1964 and 1972, respectively, when those laws were enacted. DOJ’s position today is the same as Obama’s when he first took office, that only Congress can add new protected classes in federal law by passing a new federal statute. The duty of DOJ is to enforce the law as it is written by elected lawmakers, not to rewrite those laws itself.

“Sessions, unlike past attorneys general, has been especially aggressive on immigration,” the Post continues. The writers fault Sessions for “rolling back” DACA, which they refuse to mention by name, and instead use words suggesting it is a humanitarian program.

In reality, DACA (amnesty for illegal alien children) is unlawful because only Congress can grant indefinite or permanent legal status within the United States. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had already struck down DAPA (the amnesty program for 4.5 million illegal aliens), and that reasoning would invalidate DACA as well. Sessions ended an unlawful program before a court could strike it down (and in doing so embarrass the president), as his official duties required.

Other times the Post makes drive-by allegations devoid of any evidence, such as saying that during classified briefings, the attorney general made comments that led unnamed sources to conclude that “Sessions harbors an innate suspicion about people from certain ethnic and religious backgrounds.” The writers know that because these briefing are classified, it is not possible to let the public know exactly what Sessions said, words which may in fact not lead any reasonable person to come to such a negative conclusion.

When there is a terrorist attack, the Post faults Sessions for asking what country the terrorist is from, and if he is an American, where he family comes from. In a world beset by the sad reality that terrorists tend to originate from some countries more than others, most Americans would consider those questions relevant to discovering important pieces of information, not evidence of improper bias.

The Post embeds editorial judgments throughout what it tries to sell as a straight news piece, such as referring to Sessions’ “hard-line views” on these issues. Other Americans might use adjectives like “common-sense.”

Buried in the middle of its piece, the Post admits what lies at the heart of the differing views on Jeff Sessions:

While critics lambaste what they consider misguided changes that take the department back in time, supporters say Sessions has restored a by-the-book interpretation of federal law and taken an aggressive stance toward enforcing it.

In other words, Sessions has adhered to the statutory role of the attorney general, as the top lawyer and top cop for the United States, whose duty is to adhere to the Constitution and laws as written. Within those confines, the attorney general serves at the pleasure of the president, and is duty-bound to implement the president’s agenda.

This is in contrast to the past two attorneys general, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, who were appointed by Obama. They refused to defend the constitutionality of laws they did not like, and when liberals could not pass liberal legislation through Congress, Holder and Lynch would simply reinterpret the words of laws already on the books to achieve those outcomes, violating the Constitution’s separation of powers, which exclusively vests lawmaking authority in Congress.

Sessions has put an end to those violations. The fact that the establishment media, represented here by the Bezos-owned Washington Post, criticizes Sessions for doing his job faithfully instead of using its incredible power to push his own political and policy agenda, is the real news story – one that establishment media outlets may never report.

Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.

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