tv 2017 National Lawyers Convention - Attorney General Sessions CSPAN November 20, 2017 1:57am-2:32am EST
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certain pictures in my conference room. you can be sure his went up in that room. i know the leadership he did and still remember, particularly the law enforcement community. we are part of law enforcement if anybody wonders. our duty is to protect america and have the back of our police officers. solution to the problem of crime, not the problem. i feel like at this time in history, it was a lot like the 60's and 70's and we had a serious problem of more hours and lack of respect for police. he actually reduced murder rates
over 35 years by half. it is an important achievement you have had a fabulous run wherever you are. i say, leonard. make no mistake. being able to celebrate with justice gorsuch was a remarkable thing. it was a near run thing. i'm proud that trump delivered on his election and his commitment to the kind of judge that we all believe is the kind of judge we need in this country. i admired him and appreciate the federalist society from the beginning. i was aer back when young attorney in my early 30's when you got started.
advisors being a pair of the doj veterans, what a good thing that was and remember that in following your work. toever had a group around me go and attend meetings but i read the material as you can be sure. sometimes we felt a voice in the wilderness. aremember cheering as he stood attorney when firm for some important law enforcement principle. the worldver change we are on '\ ;\ --? we had a deep belief in the constitutional order, the classical understanding of the
role of a judge in the american system. largely thanks to you we are no longer a voice in the wilderness. today there are some 70,000 federalist society members across america. they are in the academy, the courts, the law offices, congress, and the white house. and of the department of justice. you can be sure of that. there is no doubt. no doubt the federalist society has made an enormous and positive difference for the legal system. i cannot name one entity over the last 35 years to my recollection that has come close to the influence of the federal society on a single important subject facing america. it is unbelievable how much progress has been made.
has been the core of relentless efforts to restore the rule of law in this great nation. more than the rule of law, the of thental moral order created universe that is so ably advanced by our constitutional system. what a difference a year makes. elections really do have consequences. president trump is appointing extremely well-qualified highly respected judges, professionals, skilled, who will be neutral. not taking sides in the game. he is not appointing politicians or activists looking to advance an agenda that fateful jurors seeking to apply the law, to serve under the constitution not above them. that is one reason the american people voted for president
trump. like ronald reagan, he ran on a law and order form and appointing restraint judges has always been popular with the american people. it is deeply ingrained in their vision of what the role of a judge it should be. we are generally on the high side of the high side of american people when we talk about this. american people know that invalidatejudges votes. ideologues want unelected judges to do for them that which they cannot win at the ballot box. this is not a partisan question. it is a question of fairness and fidelity to the judicial of and adhere to the constitutional role assigned to the branches. puts theactivism prejudices and politics of the
judge of above the law and makes him into a continuing constitutional convention, and activist judges since in judgments not of the case but of law itself. deciding which laws to apply and which not to apply. whatever it is that activists dispense, it is not law. judicial activism is especially disturbing in our country because we have inherited the most in -- magnificent legal system in the history of the world. indeed the anglo-american system is one of the greatest achievements in civilization. we have the oldest existing constitution in the world. it is an achievement we've been blessed to inherit and able to advance. so many of you have helped advance. it is one of the main reasons america is exceptional.
history teaches us that such a legal of ours, such a order of hours is rare. it is toen how hard pass out a constitution to an undeveloped country and expect them to be up to carry it out. it is fragile. civilization is difficult to build but sometimes easy to destroy. , if wee them address except the small violations of the rule of law then these violations will only become more frequent and more serious and if eventuallys it will set for the republic itself. at the department of justice we are committed through preserving the people's respect for the law by carrying out law impartially. i would like to tell you about the work we are doing including
the topic of this conference, the administrative agencies and the regulatory state area i can't tell you how much i want to express my appreciation for the staff that we have assembled to help us accomplish these things. i could not be prouder. stateti-regulatory sitting on the front row. a longtime member of this group. last month, last month, the department finally settled 22 civil cases with 19 plaintiffs regarding the previous administrations improper imposition of a contraception mandate. their claims were just. they had been improperly
restricted in their right to freely exercise religious beliefs and we were pleased to try to bring an end to that. we've agreed to settlement terms of nearly 500 plaintiffs in cases by groups who were targeted by the internal revenue service when they apply for tax-exempt status taste on an appropriate criteria. criteria like this. if you used in your name tea patriots, 9-12 or policy questions concerning government spending or taxes, education of the public to quote make america a better place to live". that was suspicious apparently.
statement criticizing how the country was being run. it is also clear that these criteria disproportionately impacted the conservative crypts best groups. ae irs can never be used as tool against political opponents. -- these wrongful policies made settlements necessary. the department is also provided legal counsel to agencies in this administration in favor of ending subsidies to insurance companies that congress had not appropriated pursuant to the affordable care act. i am proud to say present from it an end to this practice. the executive branch has
absolutely no power to spend money not appropriated by congress. similarly, no secretary has the power through guidance or otherwise to wipe out entire sections of the immigration law. that is what the previous administration did this deferred action for childhood arrivals policy. without the consent of congress individuals here illegally who met certain criteria were granted work authorization and the right to participate in social security. unlawful immigrants are not entitled to have. no matter what one thinks about the immigration issues and will defended in mybe opinion lawfully.
once again the department advised and the administration put on in -- put an end to it. it is being ended now. the department is restoring the rule of law through litigation. -- he is aor general member of this group. very very long time. the department is restoring the rule of law through litigation. he has filed an amicus brief in support of a colorado baker who was sued for refusing to bake a cake or a six -- four a same-sex wedding. the day, like other laws, cannot be interpreted to undermine individual freedoms guaranteed by the first amendment. that includes the freedom not provide creative expression for ceremonies that violate one's religious elites.
meanwhile i have changed policies that support our mission of doing justice by executing the law. we are no longer allowing sanctuary city jurisdictions to nullify federal immigration law. if they want to receive discretionary grants. we have placed conditions of these grants to encourage states andthese cities to comply with minimal cooperative requirements to assist in removing criminal aliens from the country. in june i ended the practice of third already settlements. under the last administration the justice department often to payd settling parties settlement funds through third-party organizations that were not directly involved in the litigation or harmed by the defendants conduct. we believe when the federal government settles a case
against corporal -- corporate wrongdoer settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the united its treasury. it is not the bankroll, third-party, special interest groups or political friends of whoever is in power. nowhere does the constitution attorneys, even doj attorneys or political appointees to effectively appropriate and distribute united states treasury funds based on political alliances and friendships. neither does it give them the power to issue regulations outside the process of congress regulatory authorities.
too often, rather than going through the slow regulatory process provided, agencies make new rules through guidance documents by simply sending out a letter. this cuts off the public from the regulatory process by skipping the required public hearings and comments. it is simply not with these documents are for. guidance documents should be used reasonably to explain existing law, not to change it or rewrite the law. from now on that is what we are going to do. i am announcing this process is over. we prohibited department of justice components from issuing any guidance that purports to
impose new obligations on any party out side the executive branch. we will review and repeal existing guidance documents that violate this commonsense principle. a directivehonor that has been on the books at the department of justice since it was ordained by the man sitting to my right when he was attorney general. i am ending regulation by litigation. the days of sue and settlement special interest could sue an agency then get the agency to agree to a settlement to impose a new regulation or advance an agenda is over. the department of justice is duty bound to defend laws as they are written.
regardless of whether or not the government likes the results. our agencies must follow law reedit we are not entitled to make it. judges in courts must apply. as we know too well some judges fail to respect congress and the executive branch. was ariking example federal judge in brooklyn who heard arguments on a challenge to the federal government winds down of daca. outside the legal question the court said to the government espouseyou cannot come a position that is so heartless. not unlawful, heartless. with respect, it is a province and duty of the court to say what the law is.
they are to apply and follow the law, not advance an ideology oryx is political beliefs -- ideology or express political beliefs. we cannot allow them to set policy through abuse of the process. comments on policy from a judge or offensive. they unfairly criticize an attorney who was effectively doing his job. judges have the solemn responsibility to examine the law impartially. we are going to resist this tendency resolutely. the judicial branch is a coequal branch. it is not a superior or policy-setting branch. it needs to know its role. those who ignore this duty and seek to advance their own policy views erode the entire rule of law. they set bad presidents and
undermine public respect necessary for the courts to function properly. an increasing number of district courts are taking the dramatic step of issuing nationwide injunctions. orders that block the entire united states government from enforcing a statute or executive branch policy or order nationwide. scholars have not found a single example of any judge issuing this type of extreme remedy before the 1960's. today, single judges are making themselves super legislatures for the entire united states. 600 federally judges, district judges in america. each one with the ability to issue overreaching nationwide eroding theder her
power of the president of the united states and the supreme court has made clear that courts should a limited relief to the parties before them. if lower courts continue to ignore that precedent the supreme court should send them that message again. joining the entire federal .overnment is an extreme step to take that because of a political agreement absolutely be acceptable. -- unacceptable. the constitution gives judges no walk -- only folks on decisions that go against the department of justice. we also have some important winds. vacatedeme court has
both of the appellate court rulings against the president's travel policy. vacated the injunctions. we have also successfully staying a rare order abusive discovery disorder to stop the winds down of the daca program. overreach. i don't know how many time you've seen it be granted but this one was and we appreciate the appellate court for doing so. some district courts have initially ruled against us, i am confident our positions will be vindicated and if necessary in the supreme court. has the statutory
authority to suspend immigration in the law of any individual group of individuals he thinks -- he deems contrary to the national interest. proclamation from certain countries dysfunctional and provide risk is justified within his powers as the chief executive who has the responsibility to protect the public interest. we are proud to vigorously defended. -- defend it. let me say this. there are those in this room, maybe more than a few who get frustrated about when they turn on the tv at night's and you and to take rolaids everybody has an opinion of what the attorney general should do. i get frustrated. a lot of things i like to be able to say and explain.
the rule of law is not always about getting the outcome you seek. it is using the same fair process pursuing the truth wherever it leads. we can never allow any part of our legal system, least of all the department of justice, to be reduced to a tool for a political agenda. this department will not make decisions based on politics as long as i am attorney general. i believe this is what the american people expect. i think this is what the american people expect and deserve from the department of justice. we will not confirm investigations or leak sensitive law enforcement information to get a few cheap headlines. team inetermined as a the department of justice to
reestablish proper discipline in these matters that has been eroded. i got my page out of line. in the long run, a failure to fulfill this responsibility can perpetuationn a and further decline in respect for justice. we evaluate the evidence. we use best judgment to make an appropriate decision. refusals? refusals happen all the time.
just because we follow the rules. that furthers confidence in justice. i believe when history is written about this department it will reflect that president trump appointed one of the finest teams ever assembled. the man at the top not in the group. we remain faithful to his charge and are over. oath. torque with leonard, i am proud to work every day with great evil we have selected -- people we have selected. i am proud to stand with you as we defend the rule of law in
things like we have built in special mechanisms. but that is the sense you get. never get high on your own supply but if you are creating something, you should know what the dangers are. >> watch the communicators monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span two. now, former white house chief strategist steve bannon talks about president trump's support of israel. the event was hosted by zionist organization of america. this is 50 minutes. coming, it isrson really an honor to be able to introduce him. he is someone who has served seven years in the u.s. navy.