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Overview:
As the top post in the Department of Justice, the Office of the Attorney General (AG) oversees the nation’s largest and most important collection of legal and law enforcement operations. The US Attorney General is considered the federal government’s top legal official, responsible for advising the President and his cabinet on matters of the law and managing the Justice Department’s many offices and departments. Although the AG post is held by a lawyer, the attorney general is often viewed as much a political figure as a legal one. The AG’s office has been no stranger to controversy over the years, including during the administration of George W. Bush, which has seen three different attorneys general become involved in the government’s use of illegal and unconstitutional tactics in its fight against terrorism.
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History:
The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the Office of the Attorney General (AG) to represent the federal government in cases before the US Supreme Court and to give legal advice to the President or the heads of cabinet-level departments. For most of the 19th century, the AG was the only cabinet official not to preside over an executive department.
 
The Judiciary Act of 1789 made no provision for a Department of Justice or even for subsidiary officers or clerical staff to assist the attorney general in his duties. As a result of this oversight, the AG’s office struggled in the beginning to keep up with its duties, although several legislative efforts were made during the 1800s to expand the resources and available staff for the AG.
 
It was not until 1870 that legislation was adopted that created the Department of Justice under the authority of the AG and finally gave the nation’s top legal officer a full staff to work with. Another important provision of the 1870 legislation was the creation of the Office of Solicitor General, who took over the responsibilities of representing the government in cases before the Supreme Court. From here on out, the AG was required to appear before the court only “in matters of exceptional gravity or importance.”
 
Throughout its long history, the AG has evolved into a role that is as much political as it is legal. When President John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House in 1960, he appointed his brother, Robert Kennedy, to serve as attorney general. The decision was criticized by Kennedy’s opponents as blatant nepotism. A decade later, President Richard Nixon’s first attorney general, John Mitchell, stepped down to run the president’s 1972 re-election campaign and was later implicated in the infamous Watergate scandal.
 
During the second term of President Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese III became one of the most controversial figures of the administration because of his role in the Iran Contra scandal.
 
The 1990s witnessed the first woman to serve as attorney general. Janet Reno, who also was the longest serving AG in the 20th Century, lasted throughout President Bill Clinton’s eight tumultuous years in office. During this time period, legal controversies surrounded the Clinton White House, from Whitewater to Monica Lewinsky to impeachment, which required Reno to make difficult decisions relating appointing special prosecutors to investigate claims of illegal or improper behavior by the President.
 

The current administration of George W. Bush also has pulled the attorney general into controversial matters stemming from the White House’s aggressive effort to combat terrorist threats against the country (see Controversies).

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What it Does:
The Office of the Attorney General is the lead entity within the Department of Justice (DOJ) that oversees all operations of the department. The attorney general leads DOJ and is the chief law enforcement officer and lawyer of the US government. The attorney general also serves as a member of the President’s cabinet. The AG is the only cabinet department head who is not given the title of “Secretary.”
 
The Office of the Attorney General supervises and directs the administration and operation of the Department of Justice, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bureau of Prisons, Office of Justice Programs and the US Attorneys and US Marshals Service. The principal duties of the Attorney General are to:
  • Represent the United States in legal matters.
  • Furnish advice and opinions, formal and informal, on legal matters to the President and the cabinet and to the heads of the executive departments and agencies of the government.
  • Make recommendations to the President concerning appointments to federal judicial positions and to positions within the department, including US Attorneys and Marshals.
  • Represent or supervise the representation of the federal government in the US Supreme Court (usually through the Solicitor General) and all other courts, foreign and domestic.
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Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Controversies:
Mukasey and Waterboarding
Following the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, President Bush turned to former federal judge Michael Mukasey to head the Justice Department. When his confirmation hearings began, Mukasey got off on the right foot with Congressional Democrats by declaring that he would resign if directed by the White House to take any action he believed was illegal or violated the Constitution.
 
On the second day of his testimony, however, Mukasey sidestepped the question of whether waterboarding—an interrogation technique for which American soldiers could be court-martialed during the Vietnam War—did indeed constitute a form of torture. He also suggested that the president’s constitutional powers could supersede federal law in some cases.
 
Although concerned about Mukasey’s remarks, Democrats ultimately agreed to confirm him as attorney general. Several months later, Democratic lawmakers called for Mukasey to open a criminal investigation into the CIA’s use of waterboarding on suspected terrorists. Mukasey rejected the demand.
 
“Whatever was done as part of a CIA program at the time that it was done was the subject of a Department of Justice opinion ... and was found to be permissible under the law as it existed then,” Mukasey told lawmakers. He added that since the CIA agents had relied on a Justice Department opinion that the technique was legal, he did not believe they should be subjected to an investigation.
Mukasey Sworn In as Attorney General (by Carl Hulse, New York Times)
U.S. attorney general rejects waterboarding probe (by James Vicini and Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters)
Waterboarding: A Tortured History (by Eric Weiner, NPR)
 
Firing of US Attorneys Brings Down AG
In 2007 all of Washington, DC, was abuzz over revelations that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had fired eight US Attorneys, some for apparently political reasons. The dismissed attorneys had all been appointed by President George W. Bush more than four years earlier.
 
The saga began in the White House in 2005 when Bush’s top political advisor, Karl Rove, and Deputy Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson discussed ways of removing several US Attorneys. In March 2005, Sampson came up with a “checklist” on which he rated each of the US Attorneys with criteria that appeared to value political allegiance as much as job performance. He recommended retaining “strong” attorneys who demonstrated loyalty to the Republican Party and removing “weak” ones who had gone against administration initiatives
 
One of the fired attorneys was Carol Lam, US Attorney for San Diego, who successfully prosecuted Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Another was Bud Cummins, US Attorney for Little Rock, AR, whom Rove wanted to replace with a loyal GOP lawyer. Yet another was Paul Charlton, US Attorney in Arizona, who had investigated allegations of corruption against Republican Rep. Rick Renzi.
 
As a result of the scandal, numerous Department of Justice officials were forced to resign, including Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, acting Associate Attorney General William W. Mercer, Sampson and Chief of Staff for the Deputy Attorney General Michael Elston.
 
Gonzales was singled out for criticism by officials from all sides. For example, Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said the AG “did a lot of stupid things.”
Gonzales Defends Actions on U.S. Attorney Firings (by William Branigin, Washington Post)
Alberto Gonzales’ coup d'etat (by Joe Conason, Salon News)
 
Gonzales Pursues Ashcroft in Hospital
In 2004, as then-Attorney General John Ashcroft lay in a hospital bed recovering from having gallbladder surgery, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card tried to convince Ashcroft to renew the administration’s secret surveillance program which had just been deemed illegal by the AG’s legal advisors. Ashcroft’s top assistant, James Comey, rushed to the hospital to stop Gonzales and Card from trying to manipulate the seriously ill Ashcroft into continuing the program.
 
According to his testimony before Congress, Comey said he alerted FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III about the plan and raced, sirens blaring, to join Ashcroft in his hospital room, arriving minutes before Gonzales and Card. Ashcroft refused to sign the papers they had brought. Gonzales and Card, who had never acknowledged Comey’s presence in the room, turned and left.

Gonzales Hospital Episode Detailed

(by Dan Eggen and Paul Kane, Washington Post)

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Suggested Reforms:

US Attorneys Scandal Forces Attorney General to Accept Changes

While the controversy over the firing of US Attorneys raged, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales agreed to change the way US Attorneys can be replaced. Initially, Gonzales and the Bush administration refused to consider the change put forth by Congressional Democrats. But threats from a senior Republican senator caused Gonzales to reconsider.
 
Gonzales was able to fire eight US Attorneys following a little-noticed change in federal law in 2006 that allowed the AG to appoint interim federal prosecutors to indefinite terms. Under the previous system, the local federal district court would appoint a temporary replacement after 120 days until a permanent candidate was named and confirmed by the Senate.
 
Democrats led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation that would eliminate the 2006 change and thus limit future attorneys general power to appoint interim prosecutors.
 
The capitulation by Gonzales came just hours after Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA.), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, seemed to suggest that Gonzales’s tenure may not last through the remainder of President Bush’s term. “One day there will be a new attorney general, maybe sooner rather than later,” Specter said. As it turned out, Gonzales resigned anyway later that year.
Gonzales Yields On Hiring Interim U.S. Attorneys (by Paul Kane and Dan Eggen, Washington Post)
 
‘Sweetheart Deal’ for Ashcroft Leads to Changes
After serving under former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a US Attorney in New Jersey steered a lucrative contract to his former boss in 2007. With no public notice and no bidding, Ashcroft received an 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52 million to monitor an out-of-court settlement agreed to by a medical supply company. The New Jersey prosecutor, US Attorney Christopher Christie, directed similar monitoring contracts to two other former Justice Department colleagues from the Bush administration, as well as to a former Republican state attorney general in New Jersey.
 
The revelation provoked outrage among Congressional Democrats, one of whom called the contract a “backroom sweetheart deal” for Ashcroft. Leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees called for the Government Accountability Office to review how Justice Department monitors are selected and paid. In addition, legislation was introduced that would require judges to supervise monitors and force administration officials to follow specific guidelines when choosing monitors.
 
To head off the effort by lawmakers, Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered an internal review to determine whether national standards should be imposed to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Mukasey did so even though he stated publicly that the deals to Ashcroft and others were “perfectly appropriate,” adding “people deserve to get paid, particularly people who have talent and ability and experience.”
 
Three months after the controversy became public, the Justice Department announced internal guidelines for the selection of monitors in out-of-court settlements with large companies. The guidelines were intended to avoid future conflict-of-interest accusations. But some lawmakers still weren’t satisfied with Mukasey’s actions. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), suggested the new guidelines may not have gone far enough and warned new legislation might be in order to impose new rules on monitor selection.
 
“We must assure the public that the Department of Justice is not rewarding political allies in a forum where prosecutorial independence is absolutely necessary,” said Conyers.
 
Ashcroft Deal Brings Scrutiny in Justice Dept (by Philip Shenon, New York Times)
Mukasey Had Been Overseer Finalist (by Carrie Johnson, Washington Post)
Ashcroft Defends Contract That U.S. Steered to Him (by Philip Shenon, New York Times)

Leahy Seeks Details Of No-Bid Contracts, Directed To Be Awarded By Justice Department Official

(Leahy Press Release)

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Debate:
AG Approval of Extralegal Eavesdropping, Torture and Bypassing the Judicial System
Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration embarked on aggressive and legally questionable strategies to pursue and imprison suspected terrorists using means that fell outside the American system of jurisprudence, not to mention not common decency. The tactics employed under the Global War on Terrorism campaign provoked a fiery debate that sometimes lined up conservatives and Bush administration officials on one side and civil libertarians and Democrats on the other. But not always. At times, even members of Bush’s inner circle privately or publicly expressed reservations for the strategies employed on behalf of protecting the country.
 
Firmly entrenched in the Bush camp was the Attorney General, a position first held by John Ashcroft and then by Alberto Gonzales, who played a key role as White House counsel while Ashcroft led the Department of Justice during Bush’s first term in office. While both men held the office of Attorney General, they appeared to be stout believers in President Bush’s plans to conduct domestic spying operations involving the National Security Agency, the indefinite jailing of terrorism suspects at the Navy base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the use of military tribunals, instead of civilian courts, to try detainees.
 
Ashcroft played a key role in the formulation and passage of the Patriot Act and its sequel, Patriot II or the Domestic Security Act of 2003 (PDF). However, after he stepped down as AG, it was learned that Ashcroft wasn’t as gung-ho about other radical steps being pushed by administration officials, such as Gonzales. Ashcroft reportedly was cool to broadening the president’s ability to expand domestic eavesdropping authority to monitor communications among suspected terrorists—which Gonzales was wholeheartedly behind. Ashcroft also had some reservations about the indefinite imprisonment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, while Gonzales drafted the rules for military tribunals and oversaw a 2005 Justice Department opinion that granted CIA agents carte blanche to utilize extreme techniques of interrogation, including head-slapping, exposure to cold and simulated drowning (known as “waterboarding”), on terrorism suspects.
Ashcroft's Complex Tenure At Justice (by Peter Baker and Susan Schmidt, Washington Post)
Congress Seeks Justice Dept. Documents on Interrogation (by David Johnston and Scott Shane, New York Times)
 
Pro:
When members of al Qaeda hijacked commercial airliners on 9/11 and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, these terrorists essentially declared war on America, according to supporters of the Bush administration. This situation established special circumstance upon which the government could pursue attackers, their supporters and would-be terrorists with any means available to protect the United States from future attacks and to bring those responsible for 9/11 to justice. On January 25, 2002, Gonzales wrote to the president telling him that the Geneva Convention did not apply to members of Al Qaeda because this was “a new kind of war” or to members of the former Taliban government in Afghanistan because they did not control the entire country and were thus not really a government, but rather “a militant, terorrist-like group.” This rationale set the legal foundation for holding detainees offshore in Cuba and to employ harsh interrogation methods to extract timely intelligence.
 
In the war on terror, information is at a premium, and it is critical that government agents and other officials have all the necessary means available to go after those who pose a threat to the US, according to supporters. Gonzales wrote that it was important not to limit the tools available to America’s guardians, for if the administration began “ruling out speculated interrogation practices, we would fairly rapidly provide Al Qaeda with a road map concerning the interrogation that captured terrorists can expect to face and would enable Al Qaeda to improve its counter-interrogation training to match it.”
 
Ashcroft Reflects on War on Terrorism (by Melissa Block, NPR)
CIA called exempt from torture ban (by Eric Lichtblau, International Herald Tribune)
 
Con:
Civil libertarians and some law experts expressed concerns from the very beginning of the Bush administration’s answer to combating terrorist threats, beginning with the passage of the Patriot Act. What concerned opponents the most was, in essence, that in order to save the country, the administration was undermining the very constitutional basis and system of laws which make America special in the world. For human rights experts, the messages put forth by Ashcroft, Gonzales and others were appalling, demonstrating no political conscience for what their policies would ultimately mean for the nation’s present and future form of democracy.
 
The president and his close advisors thought they could win this war by “acting tough” and treating the rule of law and constitutional freedoms as optional. Fearmongering has become a means to an equally frightful end where legal standards are upheld only for the sake of political convenience, or simply discarded altogether. By taking the country down this path, the administration is playing right into Al Qaeda’s hands by further alienating America from the world.
 
Taking Liberties (by David Cole, Nation)
John Ashcroft: Minister of Fear (by Dick Meyer, CBS News)

Secy of State Powell Memo Opposing Geneva Convention Decision

(PDF)

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Former Directors:

Biographies of All Attorney Generals

 
Alberto R. Gonzales (2005-2007)
 
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Alberto Gonzales graduated from Rice University and Harvard Law School. Gonzales served in the US Air Force between 1973 and 1975 and attended the US Air Force Academy between 1975 and 1977.
 
He joined the law firm of Vinson & Elkins in Houston in June 1982 and eventually became a partner. While in private practice, Gonzales also taught law as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.
 
Gonzales then served as general counsel to George W. Bush while he was governor of Texas. He served in this capacity for three years, before becoming Texas’ 100th Secretary of State. He held this post from December 2, 1997 to January 10, 1999. Among his many duties as Secretary of State, Gonzales was a senior advisor to then Governor Bush, chief elections officer and the governor’s lead liaison on Mexico and border issues.
 
While serving as governor, Bush selected Gonzales in 1999 to serve as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court. Gonzales then joined Bush in Washington, DC, in 2001 as White House counsel. In February 2005, he became the first Latino to serve as US Attorney General.
 
Both while serving as AG and as White House counsel, Gonzales was considered loyal to a fault in his allegiance to President Bush. One constitutional law expert, Lawrence Tribe, described Gonzales as the “president's hired gun” rather than as the chief law enforcement officer of the nation.
 
John Ashcroft (2001-2005)
A native of Missouri, John Ashcroft graduated with honors from Yale University in 1964 and received his JD from the University of Chicago in 1967. Prior to entering public service, Ashcroft taught business law at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield. He began his career of public service in 1973 as Missouri auditor and was later elected to two terms as the state’s Attorney General.
 
Ashcroft was elected governor of Missouri in 1984 and held that post until 1993. He was elected to the US Senate and served as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee before being nominated in December 2000 by President-elect George W. Bush to serve as his first Attorney General.
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Comments

L.E. Metcalf 3 months ago
Mr. Sessions, I have never been so disappointed in anyone as much as I am you. Please do your job !!!! God is not pleased with the SWAMP and neither are the ,Trump supporters.
Richard Allen 1 year ago
Dear AG Sessions I support you completely!!! And as an American, I am at your services...anytime....anywhere. I can only suggest start persecuting someone like you know is guilty. ...and make it stick...the tune in DC will change when they know there's a new sheriff in town... lol Yours Truly R Allen
Miles E Tilly 2 years ago
I'm writing to express my anger over the Federal Government's handling of the white persons occupying the federally (taxpayer) owned building in Oregon. This is an outrage, and these seditious persons should be immediately arrested and removed from this property. Thereafter, they should be tried for the crime of sedition; and, if convicted, punished to the maximum extent allowed by law. This and past failures to enforce federal law by federal law enforcement agents, such as the failure to take down the Cliven Bundy group a couple of years ago, is leading to the degradation of the authority of federal law and making a joke out of the Federal Government. Even worse, this failure to act is causing law abiding citizens to lose respect for the President, Congress, and, most importantly, our long established legal principle that "we are a nation of laws, not of men". I don't know if President Obama has been castrated; but, he needs to get a new pair of balls and act like a man not a pussy. I keep getting request for money from the Democratic Party, but it won't get a penny from me until the President shows me that he has grown a new pair of balls. And, the only way he can do that is by dealing immediately and forcibly (if they make it necessary) with the Oregon criminals. I don't care how many of these seditious bastards are killed because the more the better. Maybe, it'll teach the survivors, if there are any, that they are not above the law. I demand that the Federal Government immediately take down the Oregon criminals by any means made necessary by their actions.
Helen Andrews 2 years ago
I am a RSA citizen. I am reporting a USA company, who is ignoring my requests, to stop sending me email. I have on numbers times "unsubscribed" and sent "stop emailing me" notifications back. Please enforce your own regulations on such spam practices. The company is a foreign exchange trader, "Warriors" They are registered as P.O.Box 3881, Ramona, California, 92065. The email address is : support@emails1.com. Thank you. Regards. Helen.
Linda Henry 4 years ago
Hello Mr. Attorney General Could you Please help my son Dundrille Blakeney -21137-057 He is currently in Lewisburg. PA Federal Prison. He has been on locked down for 5 years /24 hrs day.No phone calls home or visits in the last 7 years He was just a local small town crack dealer that has been in prison for 12 years already. I hoping you will find this email amongst the others in hope of hopefully having him transfered closer to Home in NC. I feel that he is being mistreated in Lewisburg. He doesn't tell me much in fear of retaliation. Thanks for yoru time Linda Henry Woodleaf, NC
Gary Whitson 5 years ago
Obama's accomplishments. First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner. has a social security number from a state he has never lived in.
Pamela wymbs 6 years ago
hi mr attorney general can you please help my son that is currently at petersburg low in va, his register number is 94320020 his charges is only false statements he only has 8 month left he has suffered since he has been there we have ask for them to give him a simple mri, to see if he has a spinal cord injury he has been in pain for a month and has yet to be seen ,the nurse say he has to get approved in order to get a mri, my son could be paralyzed if he is not seen to determine th...
janet d'imperio 6 years ago
attorney general holder: as our congressional members take an oath of office declaring their intention to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and since many have chosen to sign a pledge to grover norquist regarding taxation issues that threaten our very financial existance as a nation, it is my strong opinion that these members have in effect committed treason against the united state of america and should be held accountable legally for...

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Founded: 1789
Annual Budget: $12.6 million
Employees: 46
Official Website: http://www.justice.gov/ag/
Office of the Attorney General
Sessions, Jeff
Attorney General

Continuing to load his new administration with ultra-conservatives loyal to him, President-elect Donald Trump stated his intention to nominate Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-Alabama) to serve as attorney general. The first Senator to endorse Trump for president, at a time when many party leaders were denouncing him for racist comments, Sessions was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 for a federal judgeship because of allegations of racist behavior. Next year, that same committee will have to confirm his appointment to head the Department of Justice.

 

Born in Selma, Alabama, on December 24, 1946, to Jefferson B. Sessions, Jr., who owned a country store and a farm equipment dealership, and the former Abbie Powe, Sessions grew up near Hybart, Alabama, in Wilcox County. Located in the “black belt,” Wilcox was the state’s poorest county, a place where white power was so entrenched that African Americans constituted 77.9% of the population but not a single one was registered to vote.

 

According to a desegregation lawsuit filed in 1965, Jim Crow shaped Wilcox’s separate but unequal school system as well. Despite the widespread poverty, Wilcox was able to provide a quality education to white students like Sessions because of segregation. Wilcox spent five times more per white pupil as per black pupil, and black schools lacked central heating, indoor plumbing, regular maintenance, or up to date instructional materials, all of which white schools, like Wilcox Central High School, had. Sessions graduated Wilcox Central in 1965.

 

Growing up in a pro-segregation household during the Civil Rights Movement, Sessions was 16 years old when Alabama Gov. George Wallace infamously pledged “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” in 1963, and 18 when the movement came to Wilcox in the form of voter registration drives and the case against the county school system. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited Wilcox County several times to assist in the fight. White resisters beat and killed civil rights activists, and even led an armed assault on a leading black church in July 1965.

 

After graduating high school, Sessions attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, a private Methodist-supported school that was also for whites only, earning a B.A. in 1969. He was active in the Young Republicans at a time when some Southern whites were just beginning to switch to the GOP in response to Democratic support for civil rights, and was student body president. Sessions attended the University of Alabama School of Law, which in 1969 finally admitted its first black student, and graduated with his J.D. in 1973. 

 

Although Sessions entered private practice in Russellville and later in Mobile, where he has lived since the 1970s, he has spent most of his career working for the government. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1975 to 1977 and as U.S. Attorney for the same district from 1981 to 1993. He also served in the Army Reserve in the 1970s with the rank of captain.

 

Nominated in 1986 for a federal judgeship by President Ronald Reagan, Sessions failed to persuade the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee to send his nomination to the floor for a vote because of allegations of racist statements and behavior.

 

According to sworn testimony, Sessions called a black attorney, Thomas Figures, who worked for him “boy,” and admonished him to “be careful what you say to white folks.” Sessions also stated that the ACLU and NAACP were “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” because they “forced civil rights down the throats of people,” but joked that the Ku Klux Klan was “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.” Sessions denied using the term “boy” and being a racist, and defended the other comments, but testimony about his prosecution of the “Marion Three” just a year before doomed his chances.

 

In 1985, Sessions charged three civil rights workers—including Albert Turner, a former aide to Martin Luther King Jr. who led the mule wagon that carried King’s body through the streets of Atlanta in 1968—with voter fraud, for allegedly tampering with 14 absentee ballots. The three had been working in Alabama’s “Black Belt” counties, where black voter registration drives were beginning to bear fruit. Sessions’ decision to focus on these counties to the exclusion of others was criticized by civil rights advocates, who charged that Sessions was scrutinizing the black community, but overlooking similar violations among whites. Worst of all, the case was weak: the judge dismissed more than half of the charges for lack of evidence, and the jury took only three hours to acquit the defendants on the remainder.

 

The Senate Judiciary Committee, despite its Republican majority, rejected Sessions’ nomination by a vote of 10-8, only the second time that had happened in 48 years.

 

In 1993, seven years after the derailment of his judicial nomination, Sessions resigned as U.S. Attorney in order to allow the incoming Clinton administration to select a successor. Just two years later, Sessions was elected Alabama attorney general in 1995, serving in that post for just two years before winning election to the U.S. Senate—and subsequently a seat on the Judiciary Committee.

 

Sessions has been one of the Senate’s most conservative members. On every issue he will encounter as attorney general, he takes a far-right position. On immigration, for example, Sessions not only opposes a path for citizenship for undocumented residents, he wants to restrict legal immigration as well. He has opposed special visa programs sought for Silicon Valley and, in a May 2006 speech in the Senate, said, “Almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming because they have a skill that would benefit us.”

 

Sessions opposes any civil rights protections for gay or transgender Americans, earning a 0 rating from the Human Rights Campaign. He voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and voted against expanding hate crimes to include crimes against homosexuals.

 

Sessions is also anti-choice, and was one of only 37 Senators to vote against embryonic stem cell research, and one of only 22 who opposed the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization in 2013.

 

He strongly opposes the legalization of marijuana for any reason, stating that pot “is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about...and good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He believes that marijuana is more dangerous that alcohol and that marijuana use leads to the abuse of other drugs.

 

Sessions has been a strong supporter of government surveillance methods and voted against the USA Freedom Act of 2015 that restricted the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers.

 

Although Sessions voted to confirm President Barack Obama’s choice of Eric Holder as attorney general, he voted against Holder’s replacement, Loretta Lynch.

 

Sessions and his wife, Mary, have two daughters and one son and seven granddaughters and three grandsons.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Trump picks Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general (by Del Quentin Wilber and Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times)

Jeff Sessions, as Attorney General, Could Overhaul Department He’s Skewered (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times)

What they are saying about Jeff Sessions back home (by John Sharp, Alabama.com)

United States v. Wilcox County (Ala.) Board of Education, 494 F.2d 575 (5th Cir. 1974)

United States v. Wilcox County (Ala.) Board of Education (DOJ Trial Brief, 1966).

Transcript of Senate Hearings on Judicial Nomination of Jefferson Sessions III (1986)

The General Condition of the Alabama Negro (Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, 1965).

Bus Ride to Justice (by Fred D. Gray, rev. ed., 2013).

This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight (by Maria Gitin, University of Alabama Press, 2014). 

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Lynch, Loretta
Previous Attorney General

Loretta E. Lynch, a longtime U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was President Barack Obama’s choice to become the 83rd attorney general of the United States, succeeding Eric Holder. She served in that position from April 27, 2015 until January 20, 2017, the date Donald Trump became president.

 

Lynch was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1959, to Lorenzo and Lorine Lynch and moved with her family to Durham, North Carolina as a child. Her father was a Baptist minister, as was his father. Her mother was a farm worker who became a librarian. Lynch attended a mostly white elementary school, and when she once scored well on an achievement test, school officials made her retake the test because they assumed she had cheated on it. She did as well the second time. Lynch graduated from Durham High School in 1977 and went to Harvard, where she earned a B.A. in English and American Literature in 1981. She remained in Cambridge to attend Harvard Law, receiving her J.D. in 1984. Lynch began her legal career in private practice as a litigation associate for the firm of Cahill Gordon and Reindel in New York.

 

In 1990, Lynch joined the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes in the New York boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and in Nassau County (Long Island). One of her most noteworthy cases was the prosecution of the Green Dragons, a Chinese gang that was convicted of racketeering and murder. Lynch was named chief of the Long Island office in 1993 and served there until 1998, when she was named chief assistant U.S. attorney.

 

Her most prominent case while there came when she helped prosecute New York City policeman Justin Volpe, who had been among those involved in the 1997 assault and forcible sodomization of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. Midway through his trial in 1999, Volpe pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

 

Later that year, President Bill Clinton appointed Lynch to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District. She served only two years before being replaced by a George W. Bush appointee in 2001.

 

Lynch then returned to the private sector, joining the New York firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) as a partner. She focused on commercial litigation, white-collar criminal defense and corporate compliance. In 2003, Lynch was appointed a Federal Reserve director with jurisdiction over the Second Federal Reserve District. She also served in 2005 as an investigator for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and conducted a special investigation into allegations of witness tampering and false testimony at the tribunal.

 

In 2010, Lynch was again appointed to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. She led the prosecution for embezzlement of former New York state senate majority leader Pedro Espada Jr. Her office filed charges in 2013 on a $45 million cyberattack on ATMs, made arrests this year in the 1978 Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport, dramatized in the movie Goodfellas, and is now prosecuting Rep. Michael Grimm (R-New York) for tax fraud. Despite the indictment, Grimm was easily re-elected to Congress in the 2014 general election.

 

In 2007 Lynch married Stephen Hargrove, and she has two stepchildren. One of her brothers, Leonzo, followed their father into the ministry, the other, Lorenzo Jr. who died in 2009, served as a Navy Seal.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

The Republican Senate Will Love Loretta Lynch (by Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News)

A Low-Profile Prosecutor (by Sean Gardiner, Wall Street Journal)

 

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Overview:
As the top post in the Department of Justice, the Office of the Attorney General (AG) oversees the nation’s largest and most important collection of legal and law enforcement operations. The US Attorney General is considered the federal government’s top legal official, responsible for advising the President and his cabinet on matters of the law and managing the Justice Department’s many offices and departments. Although the AG post is held by a lawyer, the attorney general is often viewed as much a political figure as a legal one. The AG’s office has been no stranger to controversy over the years, including during the administration of George W. Bush, which has seen three different attorneys general become involved in the government’s use of illegal and unconstitutional tactics in its fight against terrorism.
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History:
The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the Office of the Attorney General (AG) to represent the federal government in cases before the US Supreme Court and to give legal advice to the President or the heads of cabinet-level departments. For most of the 19th century, the AG was the only cabinet official not to preside over an executive department.
 
The Judiciary Act of 1789 made no provision for a Department of Justice or even for subsidiary officers or clerical staff to assist the attorney general in his duties. As a result of this oversight, the AG’s office struggled in the beginning to keep up with its duties, although several legislative efforts were made during the 1800s to expand the resources and available staff for the AG.
 
It was not until 1870 that legislation was adopted that created the Department of Justice under the authority of the AG and finally gave the nation’s top legal officer a full staff to work with. Another important provision of the 1870 legislation was the creation of the Office of Solicitor General, who took over the responsibilities of representing the government in cases before the Supreme Court. From here on out, the AG was required to appear before the court only “in matters of exceptional gravity or importance.”
 
Throughout its long history, the AG has evolved into a role that is as much political as it is legal. When President John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House in 1960, he appointed his brother, Robert Kennedy, to serve as attorney general. The decision was criticized by Kennedy’s opponents as blatant nepotism. A decade later, President Richard Nixon’s first attorney general, John Mitchell, stepped down to run the president’s 1972 re-election campaign and was later implicated in the infamous Watergate scandal.
 
During the second term of President Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese III became one of the most controversial figures of the administration because of his role in the Iran Contra scandal.
 
The 1990s witnessed the first woman to serve as attorney general. Janet Reno, who also was the longest serving AG in the 20th Century, lasted throughout President Bill Clinton’s eight tumultuous years in office. During this time period, legal controversies surrounded the Clinton White House, from Whitewater to Monica Lewinsky to impeachment, which required Reno to make difficult decisions relating appointing special prosecutors to investigate claims of illegal or improper behavior by the President.
 

The current administration of George W. Bush also has pulled the attorney general into controversial matters stemming from the White House’s aggressive effort to combat terrorist threats against the country (see Controversies).

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What it Does:
The Office of the Attorney General is the lead entity within the Department of Justice (DOJ) that oversees all operations of the department. The attorney general leads DOJ and is the chief law enforcement officer and lawyer of the US government. The attorney general also serves as a member of the President’s cabinet. The AG is the only cabinet department head who is not given the title of “Secretary.”
 
The Office of the Attorney General supervises and directs the administration and operation of the Department of Justice, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bureau of Prisons, Office of Justice Programs and the US Attorneys and US Marshals Service. The principal duties of the Attorney General are to:
  • Represent the United States in legal matters.
  • Furnish advice and opinions, formal and informal, on legal matters to the President and the cabinet and to the heads of the executive departments and agencies of the government.
  • Make recommendations to the President concerning appointments to federal judicial positions and to positions within the department, including US Attorneys and Marshals.
  • Represent or supervise the representation of the federal government in the US Supreme Court (usually through the Solicitor General) and all other courts, foreign and domestic.
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Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Controversies:
Mukasey and Waterboarding
Following the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, President Bush turned to former federal judge Michael Mukasey to head the Justice Department. When his confirmation hearings began, Mukasey got off on the right foot with Congressional Democrats by declaring that he would resign if directed by the White House to take any action he believed was illegal or violated the Constitution.
 
On the second day of his testimony, however, Mukasey sidestepped the question of whether waterboarding—an interrogation technique for which American soldiers could be court-martialed during the Vietnam War—did indeed constitute a form of torture. He also suggested that the president’s constitutional powers could supersede federal law in some cases.
 
Although concerned about Mukasey’s remarks, Democrats ultimately agreed to confirm him as attorney general. Several months later, Democratic lawmakers called for Mukasey to open a criminal investigation into the CIA’s use of waterboarding on suspected terrorists. Mukasey rejected the demand.
 
“Whatever was done as part of a CIA program at the time that it was done was the subject of a Department of Justice opinion ... and was found to be permissible under the law as it existed then,” Mukasey told lawmakers. He added that since the CIA agents had relied on a Justice Department opinion that the technique was legal, he did not believe they should be subjected to an investigation.
Mukasey Sworn In as Attorney General (by Carl Hulse, New York Times)
U.S. attorney general rejects waterboarding probe (by James Vicini and Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters)
Waterboarding: A Tortured History (by Eric Weiner, NPR)
 
Firing of US Attorneys Brings Down AG
In 2007 all of Washington, DC, was abuzz over revelations that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had fired eight US Attorneys, some for apparently political reasons. The dismissed attorneys had all been appointed by President George W. Bush more than four years earlier.
 
The saga began in the White House in 2005 when Bush’s top political advisor, Karl Rove, and Deputy Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson discussed ways of removing several US Attorneys. In March 2005, Sampson came up with a “checklist” on which he rated each of the US Attorneys with criteria that appeared to value political allegiance as much as job performance. He recommended retaining “strong” attorneys who demonstrated loyalty to the Republican Party and removing “weak” ones who had gone against administration initiatives
 
One of the fired attorneys was Carol Lam, US Attorney for San Diego, who successfully prosecuted Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Another was Bud Cummins, US Attorney for Little Rock, AR, whom Rove wanted to replace with a loyal GOP lawyer. Yet another was Paul Charlton, US Attorney in Arizona, who had investigated allegations of corruption against Republican Rep. Rick Renzi.
 
As a result of the scandal, numerous Department of Justice officials were forced to resign, including Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, acting Associate Attorney General William W. Mercer, Sampson and Chief of Staff for the Deputy Attorney General Michael Elston.
 
Gonzales was singled out for criticism by officials from all sides. For example, Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said the AG “did a lot of stupid things.”
Gonzales Defends Actions on U.S. Attorney Firings (by William Branigin, Washington Post)
Alberto Gonzales’ coup d'etat (by Joe Conason, Salon News)
 
Gonzales Pursues Ashcroft in Hospital
In 2004, as then-Attorney General John Ashcroft lay in a hospital bed recovering from having gallbladder surgery, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card tried to convince Ashcroft to renew the administration’s secret surveillance program which had just been deemed illegal by the AG’s legal advisors. Ashcroft’s top assistant, James Comey, rushed to the hospital to stop Gonzales and Card from trying to manipulate the seriously ill Ashcroft into continuing the program.
 
According to his testimony before Congress, Comey said he alerted FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III about the plan and raced, sirens blaring, to join Ashcroft in his hospital room, arriving minutes before Gonzales and Card. Ashcroft refused to sign the papers they had brought. Gonzales and Card, who had never acknowledged Comey’s presence in the room, turned and left.

Gonzales Hospital Episode Detailed

(by Dan Eggen and Paul Kane, Washington Post)

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Suggested Reforms:

US Attorneys Scandal Forces Attorney General to Accept Changes

While the controversy over the firing of US Attorneys raged, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales agreed to change the way US Attorneys can be replaced. Initially, Gonzales and the Bush administration refused to consider the change put forth by Congressional Democrats. But threats from a senior Republican senator caused Gonzales to reconsider.
 
Gonzales was able to fire eight US Attorneys following a little-noticed change in federal law in 2006 that allowed the AG to appoint interim federal prosecutors to indefinite terms. Under the previous system, the local federal district court would appoint a temporary replacement after 120 days until a permanent candidate was named and confirmed by the Senate.
 
Democrats led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation that would eliminate the 2006 change and thus limit future attorneys general power to appoint interim prosecutors.
 
The capitulation by Gonzales came just hours after Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA.), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, seemed to suggest that Gonzales’s tenure may not last through the remainder of President Bush’s term. “One day there will be a new attorney general, maybe sooner rather than later,” Specter said. As it turned out, Gonzales resigned anyway later that year.
Gonzales Yields On Hiring Interim U.S. Attorneys (by Paul Kane and Dan Eggen, Washington Post)
 
‘Sweetheart Deal’ for Ashcroft Leads to Changes
After serving under former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a US Attorney in New Jersey steered a lucrative contract to his former boss in 2007. With no public notice and no bidding, Ashcroft received an 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52 million to monitor an out-of-court settlement agreed to by a medical supply company. The New Jersey prosecutor, US Attorney Christopher Christie, directed similar monitoring contracts to two other former Justice Department colleagues from the Bush administration, as well as to a former Republican state attorney general in New Jersey.
 
The revelation provoked outrage among Congressional Democrats, one of whom called the contract a “backroom sweetheart deal” for Ashcroft. Leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees called for the Government Accountability Office to review how Justice Department monitors are selected and paid. In addition, legislation was introduced that would require judges to supervise monitors and force administration officials to follow specific guidelines when choosing monitors.
 
To head off the effort by lawmakers, Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered an internal review to determine whether national standards should be imposed to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Mukasey did so even though he stated publicly that the deals to Ashcroft and others were “perfectly appropriate,” adding “people deserve to get paid, particularly people who have talent and ability and experience.”
 
Three months after the controversy became public, the Justice Department announced internal guidelines for the selection of monitors in out-of-court settlements with large companies. The guidelines were intended to avoid future conflict-of-interest accusations. But some lawmakers still weren’t satisfied with Mukasey’s actions. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), suggested the new guidelines may not have gone far enough and warned new legislation might be in order to impose new rules on monitor selection.
 
“We must assure the public that the Department of Justice is not rewarding political allies in a forum where prosecutorial independence is absolutely necessary,” said Conyers.
 
Ashcroft Deal Brings Scrutiny in Justice Dept (by Philip Shenon, New York Times)
Mukasey Had Been Overseer Finalist (by Carrie Johnson, Washington Post)
Ashcroft Defends Contract That U.S. Steered to Him (by Philip Shenon, New York Times)

Leahy Seeks Details Of No-Bid Contracts, Directed To Be Awarded By Justice Department Official

(Leahy Press Release)

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Debate:
AG Approval of Extralegal Eavesdropping, Torture and Bypassing the Judicial System
Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration embarked on aggressive and legally questionable strategies to pursue and imprison suspected terrorists using means that fell outside the American system of jurisprudence, not to mention not common decency. The tactics employed under the Global War on Terrorism campaign provoked a fiery debate that sometimes lined up conservatives and Bush administration officials on one side and civil libertarians and Democrats on the other. But not always. At times, even members of Bush’s inner circle privately or publicly expressed reservations for the strategies employed on behalf of protecting the country.
 
Firmly entrenched in the Bush camp was the Attorney General, a position first held by John Ashcroft and then by Alberto Gonzales, who played a key role as White House counsel while Ashcroft led the Department of Justice during Bush’s first term in office. While both men held the office of Attorney General, they appeared to be stout believers in President Bush’s plans to conduct domestic spying operations involving the National Security Agency, the indefinite jailing of terrorism suspects at the Navy base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the use of military tribunals, instead of civilian courts, to try detainees.
 
Ashcroft played a key role in the formulation and passage of the Patriot Act and its sequel, Patriot II or the Domestic Security Act of 2003 (PDF). However, after he stepped down as AG, it was learned that Ashcroft wasn’t as gung-ho about other radical steps being pushed by administration officials, such as Gonzales. Ashcroft reportedly was cool to broadening the president’s ability to expand domestic eavesdropping authority to monitor communications among suspected terrorists—which Gonzales was wholeheartedly behind. Ashcroft also had some reservations about the indefinite imprisonment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, while Gonzales drafted the rules for military tribunals and oversaw a 2005 Justice Department opinion that granted CIA agents carte blanche to utilize extreme techniques of interrogation, including head-slapping, exposure to cold and simulated drowning (known as “waterboarding”), on terrorism suspects.
Ashcroft's Complex Tenure At Justice (by Peter Baker and Susan Schmidt, Washington Post)
Congress Seeks Justice Dept. Documents on Interrogation (by David Johnston and Scott Shane, New York Times)
 
Pro:
When members of al Qaeda hijacked commercial airliners on 9/11 and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, these terrorists essentially declared war on America, according to supporters of the Bush administration. This situation established special circumstance upon which the government could pursue attackers, their supporters and would-be terrorists with any means available to protect the United States from future attacks and to bring those responsible for 9/11 to justice. On January 25, 2002, Gonzales wrote to the president telling him that the Geneva Convention did not apply to members of Al Qaeda because this was “a new kind of war” or to members of the former Taliban government in Afghanistan because they did not control the entire country and were thus not really a government, but rather “a militant, terorrist-like group.” This rationale set the legal foundation for holding detainees offshore in Cuba and to employ harsh interrogation methods to extract timely intelligence.
 
In the war on terror, information is at a premium, and it is critical that government agents and other officials have all the necessary means available to go after those who pose a threat to the US, according to supporters. Gonzales wrote that it was important not to limit the tools available to America’s guardians, for if the administration began “ruling out speculated interrogation practices, we would fairly rapidly provide Al Qaeda with a road map concerning the interrogation that captured terrorists can expect to face and would enable Al Qaeda to improve its counter-interrogation training to match it.”
 
Ashcroft Reflects on War on Terrorism (by Melissa Block, NPR)
CIA called exempt from torture ban (by Eric Lichtblau, International Herald Tribune)
 
Con:
Civil libertarians and some law experts expressed concerns from the very beginning of the Bush administration’s answer to combating terrorist threats, beginning with the passage of the Patriot Act. What concerned opponents the most was, in essence, that in order to save the country, the administration was undermining the very constitutional basis and system of laws which make America special in the world. For human rights experts, the messages put forth by Ashcroft, Gonzales and others were appalling, demonstrating no political conscience for what their policies would ultimately mean for the nation’s present and future form of democracy.
 
The president and his close advisors thought they could win this war by “acting tough” and treating the rule of law and constitutional freedoms as optional. Fearmongering has become a means to an equally frightful end where legal standards are upheld only for the sake of political convenience, or simply discarded altogether. By taking the country down this path, the administration is playing right into Al Qaeda’s hands by further alienating America from the world.
 
Taking Liberties (by David Cole, Nation)
John Ashcroft: Minister of Fear (by Dick Meyer, CBS News)

Secy of State Powell Memo Opposing Geneva Convention Decision

(PDF)

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Former Directors:

Biographies of All Attorney Generals

 
Alberto R. Gonzales (2005-2007)
 
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Alberto Gonzales graduated from Rice University and Harvard Law School. Gonzales served in the US Air Force between 1973 and 1975 and attended the US Air Force Academy between 1975 and 1977.
 
He joined the law firm of Vinson & Elkins in Houston in June 1982 and eventually became a partner. While in private practice, Gonzales also taught law as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.
 
Gonzales then served as general counsel to George W. Bush while he was governor of Texas. He served in this capacity for three years, before becoming Texas’ 100th Secretary of State. He held this post from December 2, 1997 to January 10, 1999. Among his many duties as Secretary of State, Gonzales was a senior advisor to then Governor Bush, chief elections officer and the governor’s lead liaison on Mexico and border issues.
 
While serving as governor, Bush selected Gonzales in 1999 to serve as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court. Gonzales then joined Bush in Washington, DC, in 2001 as White House counsel. In February 2005, he became the first Latino to serve as US Attorney General.
 
Both while serving as AG and as White House counsel, Gonzales was considered loyal to a fault in his allegiance to President Bush. One constitutional law expert, Lawrence Tribe, described Gonzales as the “president's hired gun” rather than as the chief law enforcement officer of the nation.
 
John Ashcroft (2001-2005)
A native of Missouri, John Ashcroft graduated with honors from Yale University in 1964 and received his JD from the University of Chicago in 1967. Prior to entering public service, Ashcroft taught business law at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield. He began his career of public service in 1973 as Missouri auditor and was later elected to two terms as the state’s Attorney General.
 
Ashcroft was elected governor of Missouri in 1984 and held that post until 1993. He was elected to the US Senate and served as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee before being nominated in December 2000 by President-elect George W. Bush to serve as his first Attorney General.
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Comments

L.E. Metcalf 3 months ago
Mr. Sessions, I have never been so disappointed in anyone as much as I am you. Please do your job !!!! God is not pleased with the SWAMP and neither are the ,Trump supporters.
Richard Allen 1 year ago
Dear AG Sessions I support you completely!!! And as an American, I am at your services...anytime....anywhere. I can only suggest start persecuting someone like you know is guilty. ...and make it stick...the tune in DC will change when they know there's a new sheriff in town... lol Yours Truly R Allen
Miles E Tilly 2 years ago
I'm writing to express my anger over the Federal Government's handling of the white persons occupying the federally (taxpayer) owned building in Oregon. This is an outrage, and these seditious persons should be immediately arrested and removed from this property. Thereafter, they should be tried for the crime of sedition; and, if convicted, punished to the maximum extent allowed by law. This and past failures to enforce federal law by federal law enforcement agents, such as the failure to take down the Cliven Bundy group a couple of years ago, is leading to the degradation of the authority of federal law and making a joke out of the Federal Government. Even worse, this failure to act is causing law abiding citizens to lose respect for the President, Congress, and, most importantly, our long established legal principle that "we are a nation of laws, not of men". I don't know if President Obama has been castrated; but, he needs to get a new pair of balls and act like a man not a pussy. I keep getting request for money from the Democratic Party, but it won't get a penny from me until the President shows me that he has grown a new pair of balls. And, the only way he can do that is by dealing immediately and forcibly (if they make it necessary) with the Oregon criminals. I don't care how many of these seditious bastards are killed because the more the better. Maybe, it'll teach the survivors, if there are any, that they are not above the law. I demand that the Federal Government immediately take down the Oregon criminals by any means made necessary by their actions.
Helen Andrews 2 years ago
I am a RSA citizen. I am reporting a USA company, who is ignoring my requests, to stop sending me email. I have on numbers times "unsubscribed" and sent "stop emailing me" notifications back. Please enforce your own regulations on such spam practices. The company is a foreign exchange trader, "Warriors" They are registered as P.O.Box 3881, Ramona, California, 92065. The email address is : support@emails1.com. Thank you. Regards. Helen.
Linda Henry 4 years ago
Hello Mr. Attorney General Could you Please help my son Dundrille Blakeney -21137-057 He is currently in Lewisburg. PA Federal Prison. He has been on locked down for 5 years /24 hrs day.No phone calls home or visits in the last 7 years He was just a local small town crack dealer that has been in prison for 12 years already. I hoping you will find this email amongst the others in hope of hopefully having him transfered closer to Home in NC. I feel that he is being mistreated in Lewisburg. He doesn't tell me much in fear of retaliation. Thanks for yoru time Linda Henry Woodleaf, NC
Gary Whitson 5 years ago
Obama's accomplishments. First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner. has a social security number from a state he has never lived in.
Pamela wymbs 6 years ago
hi mr attorney general can you please help my son that is currently at petersburg low in va, his register number is 94320020 his charges is only false statements he only has 8 month left he has suffered since he has been there we have ask for them to give him a simple mri, to see if he has a spinal cord injury he has been in pain for a month and has yet to be seen ,the nurse say he has to get approved in order to get a mri, my son could be paralyzed if he is not seen to determine th...
janet d'imperio 6 years ago
attorney general holder: as our congressional members take an oath of office declaring their intention to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and since many have chosen to sign a pledge to grover norquist regarding taxation issues that threaten our very financial existance as a nation, it is my strong opinion that these members have in effect committed treason against the united state of america and should be held accountable legally for...

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Founded: 1789
Annual Budget: $12.6 million
Employees: 46
Official Website: http://www.justice.gov/ag/
Office of the Attorney General
Sessions, Jeff
Attorney General

Continuing to load his new administration with ultra-conservatives loyal to him, President-elect Donald Trump stated his intention to nominate Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-Alabama) to serve as attorney general. The first Senator to endorse Trump for president, at a time when many party leaders were denouncing him for racist comments, Sessions was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 for a federal judgeship because of allegations of racist behavior. Next year, that same committee will have to confirm his appointment to head the Department of Justice.

 

Born in Selma, Alabama, on December 24, 1946, to Jefferson B. Sessions, Jr., who owned a country store and a farm equipment dealership, and the former Abbie Powe, Sessions grew up near Hybart, Alabama, in Wilcox County. Located in the “black belt,” Wilcox was the state’s poorest county, a place where white power was so entrenched that African Americans constituted 77.9% of the population but not a single one was registered to vote.

 

According to a desegregation lawsuit filed in 1965, Jim Crow shaped Wilcox’s separate but unequal school system as well. Despite the widespread poverty, Wilcox was able to provide a quality education to white students like Sessions because of segregation. Wilcox spent five times more per white pupil as per black pupil, and black schools lacked central heating, indoor plumbing, regular maintenance, or up to date instructional materials, all of which white schools, like Wilcox Central High School, had. Sessions graduated Wilcox Central in 1965.

 

Growing up in a pro-segregation household during the Civil Rights Movement, Sessions was 16 years old when Alabama Gov. George Wallace infamously pledged “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” in 1963, and 18 when the movement came to Wilcox in the form of voter registration drives and the case against the county school system. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited Wilcox County several times to assist in the fight. White resisters beat and killed civil rights activists, and even led an armed assault on a leading black church in July 1965.

 

After graduating high school, Sessions attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, a private Methodist-supported school that was also for whites only, earning a B.A. in 1969. He was active in the Young Republicans at a time when some Southern whites were just beginning to switch to the GOP in response to Democratic support for civil rights, and was student body president. Sessions attended the University of Alabama School of Law, which in 1969 finally admitted its first black student, and graduated with his J.D. in 1973. 

 

Although Sessions entered private practice in Russellville and later in Mobile, where he has lived since the 1970s, he has spent most of his career working for the government. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1975 to 1977 and as U.S. Attorney for the same district from 1981 to 1993. He also served in the Army Reserve in the 1970s with the rank of captain.

 

Nominated in 1986 for a federal judgeship by President Ronald Reagan, Sessions failed to persuade the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee to send his nomination to the floor for a vote because of allegations of racist statements and behavior.

 

According to sworn testimony, Sessions called a black attorney, Thomas Figures, who worked for him “boy,” and admonished him to “be careful what you say to white folks.” Sessions also stated that the ACLU and NAACP were “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” because they “forced civil rights down the throats of people,” but joked that the Ku Klux Klan was “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.” Sessions denied using the term “boy” and being a racist, and defended the other comments, but testimony about his prosecution of the “Marion Three” just a year before doomed his chances.

 

In 1985, Sessions charged three civil rights workers—including Albert Turner, a former aide to Martin Luther King Jr. who led the mule wagon that carried King’s body through the streets of Atlanta in 1968—with voter fraud, for allegedly tampering with 14 absentee ballots. The three had been working in Alabama’s “Black Belt” counties, where black voter registration drives were beginning to bear fruit. Sessions’ decision to focus on these counties to the exclusion of others was criticized by civil rights advocates, who charged that Sessions was scrutinizing the black community, but overlooking similar violations among whites. Worst of all, the case was weak: the judge dismissed more than half of the charges for lack of evidence, and the jury took only three hours to acquit the defendants on the remainder.

 

The Senate Judiciary Committee, despite its Republican majority, rejected Sessions’ nomination by a vote of 10-8, only the second time that had happened in 48 years.

 

In 1993, seven years after the derailment of his judicial nomination, Sessions resigned as U.S. Attorney in order to allow the incoming Clinton administration to select a successor. Just two years later, Sessions was elected Alabama attorney general in 1995, serving in that post for just two years before winning election to the U.S. Senate—and subsequently a seat on the Judiciary Committee.

 

Sessions has been one of the Senate’s most conservative members. On every issue he will encounter as attorney general, he takes a far-right position. On immigration, for example, Sessions not only opposes a path for citizenship for undocumented residents, he wants to restrict legal immigration as well. He has opposed special visa programs sought for Silicon Valley and, in a May 2006 speech in the Senate, said, “Almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming because they have a skill that would benefit us.”

 

Sessions opposes any civil rights protections for gay or transgender Americans, earning a 0 rating from the Human Rights Campaign. He voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and voted against expanding hate crimes to include crimes against homosexuals.

 

Sessions is also anti-choice, and was one of only 37 Senators to vote against embryonic stem cell research, and one of only 22 who opposed the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization in 2013.

 

He strongly opposes the legalization of marijuana for any reason, stating that pot “is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about...and good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He believes that marijuana is more dangerous that alcohol and that marijuana use leads to the abuse of other drugs.

 

Sessions has been a strong supporter of government surveillance methods and voted against the USA Freedom Act of 2015 that restricted the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers.

 

Although Sessions voted to confirm President Barack Obama’s choice of Eric Holder as attorney general, he voted against Holder’s replacement, Loretta Lynch.

 

Sessions and his wife, Mary, have two daughters and one son and seven granddaughters and three grandsons.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Trump picks Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general (by Del Quentin Wilber and Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times)

Jeff Sessions, as Attorney General, Could Overhaul Department He’s Skewered (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times)

What they are saying about Jeff Sessions back home (by John Sharp, Alabama.com)

United States v. Wilcox County (Ala.) Board of Education, 494 F.2d 575 (5th Cir. 1974)

United States v. Wilcox County (Ala.) Board of Education (DOJ Trial Brief, 1966).

Transcript of Senate Hearings on Judicial Nomination of Jefferson Sessions III (1986)

The General Condition of the Alabama Negro (Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, 1965).

Bus Ride to Justice (by Fred D. Gray, rev. ed., 2013).

This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight (by Maria Gitin, University of Alabama Press, 2014). 

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Lynch, Loretta
Previous Attorney General

Loretta E. Lynch, a longtime U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was President Barack Obama’s choice to become the 83rd attorney general of the United States, succeeding Eric Holder. She served in that position from April 27, 2015 until January 20, 2017, the date Donald Trump became president.

 

Lynch was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1959, to Lorenzo and Lorine Lynch and moved with her family to Durham, North Carolina as a child. Her father was a Baptist minister, as was his father. Her mother was a farm worker who became a librarian. Lynch attended a mostly white elementary school, and when she once scored well on an achievement test, school officials made her retake the test because they assumed she had cheated on it. She did as well the second time. Lynch graduated from Durham High School in 1977 and went to Harvard, where she earned a B.A. in English and American Literature in 1981. She remained in Cambridge to attend Harvard Law, receiving her J.D. in 1984. Lynch began her legal career in private practice as a litigation associate for the firm of Cahill Gordon and Reindel in New York.

 

In 1990, Lynch joined the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes in the New York boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and in Nassau County (Long Island). One of her most noteworthy cases was the prosecution of the Green Dragons, a Chinese gang that was convicted of racketeering and murder. Lynch was named chief of the Long Island office in 1993 and served there until 1998, when she was named chief assistant U.S. attorney.

 

Her most prominent case while there came when she helped prosecute New York City policeman Justin Volpe, who had been among those involved in the 1997 assault and forcible sodomization of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. Midway through his trial in 1999, Volpe pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

 

Later that year, President Bill Clinton appointed Lynch to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District. She served only two years before being replaced by a George W. Bush appointee in 2001.

 

Lynch then returned to the private sector, joining the New York firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) as a partner. She focused on commercial litigation, white-collar criminal defense and corporate compliance. In 2003, Lynch was appointed a Federal Reserve director with jurisdiction over the Second Federal Reserve District. She also served in 2005 as an investigator for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and conducted a special investigation into allegations of witness tampering and false testimony at the tribunal.

 

In 2010, Lynch was again appointed to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. She led the prosecution for embezzlement of former New York state senate majority leader Pedro Espada Jr. Her office filed charges in 2013 on a $45 million cyberattack on ATMs, made arrests this year in the 1978 Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport, dramatized in the movie Goodfellas, and is now prosecuting Rep. Michael Grimm (R-New York) for tax fraud. Despite the indictment, Grimm was easily re-elected to Congress in the 2014 general election.

 

In 2007 Lynch married Stephen Hargrove, and she has two stepchildren. One of her brothers, Leonzo, followed their father into the ministry, the other, Lorenzo Jr. who died in 2009, served as a Navy Seal.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

The Republican Senate Will Love Loretta Lynch (by Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News)

A Low-Profile Prosecutor (by Sean Gardiner, Wall Street Journal)

 

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