Abolish the Department of Justice

The Obama Justice Department has revealed its final descent into naked politics and totalitarian bullying.  Lois Lerner and Hillary Clinton, two transparently guilty criminals whose crimes are compounded by the fact that both are also lawyers, will face no indictments and no prosecution.  The corrupt bosses of the Veterans Administration likewise face no sanction at all despite the manifest criminality of their actions.  

Lying under oath to Congress, failing to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests, conspiring to obstruct justice, and many other clear wrongdoings permeate almost every single crevice of the Obama administration, and yet no one who matters has faced any trouble from the Department of Justice. 

This is not because the Department of Justice is quiet and subdued.  The attorney general refers to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution of those who question the leftist orthodoxy of man-made global warming and moves almost instantly to litigate the actions of states protecting children in school restrooms.  

The hyper-politicization of the Department of Justice by the left has been used unceasingly as a bludgeon against conservatives, Christians, and constitutionalists in America.  While a new Republican administration with an honorable and fair attorney general would be welcome, once the Pandora's box of hyper-politicization has been opened – as it has by Holder and Lynch – there is no real cure at the federal level.

Want a real "horror story"?  Review the prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens during his re-election campaign in 2008.  The Department of Justice is simply a tool for protection or persecution.

The only effective solution is to do what may make many gasp, even many conservatives, and simply abolish the United States Department of Justice, leaving the Office of Attorney General with a Spartan staff to perform those absolutely essential constitutional duties.

How, then, would federal laws and regulations be enforced?

States have full authority to do just that, and Congress can return to state courts and to state authorities the enforcement of federal laws.  This is perfectly proper, as many federal laws are already enforceable by state officers.  Congress can confer on states the right to enforce its laws, and, indeed, it can confer upon state courts exclusive jurisdiction over "federal questions," with the single caveat that the Supreme Court would have appellate jurisdiction.  This would solve many problems.

First, it would mean folks like Lerner and Clinton, whose violations occurred in several states, would not be able to fix the system so that they are immune to prosecution.  The powerful would suddenly find it impossible to game the system with fifty different states able to prosecute offenses.

Second, because suddenly all the arcane and obscure federal laws, rules, and regulations would now be enforceable by fifty different jurisdictions, everyone in federal politics would see a strong need to adopt a short and sensible federal criminal code, and many federal offenses would likely be repealed as a consequence.

Do we need a lot of federal criminal laws?  No.  States have adequate criminal laws even in tricky areas like organized crime, and state prosecutors and law enforcement have longed worked effectively with sister states.  In those truly extraordinary cases, the attorney general could request a federal judge to appoint a special prosecutor, but that would be exceptional.  The FBI could return to what it does best:  assist, when asked, state law enforcement agencies with specialized help.

Third, returning the prosecution of federal offenses to state criminal justice agencies would have the practical effect of also devolving power back to the states.  Indeed, the vast majority of activity currently done by federal agencies can be constitutionally done by state government agencies. 

This provides a practical check on the abuse of federal power by placing primary enforcement in the hands of officers who are accountable to state elected officials.  The diffusion of power that today is so concentrated in a few hands in Washington would be another vital and happy result of devolving back to states the power to enforce federal laws.

The president, of course, would still have the constitutional duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed, but nothing in the Constitution says that he must be given an army of federal bureaucrats to do that (the vast majority of which cannot be hired or fired by the president anyway).  The Augean Stables are overflowing with the fetid muck of Washington insider-ism.  Abolishing the Department of Justice is a good place to begin the Herculean task of cleaning this horrid mess.

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