Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 21 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/30/18

An Elected Attorney General and an Independent Justice Department

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   7 comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joel Joseph

US Department of Justice Scales Of Justice
US Department of Justice Scales Of Justice
(Image by (Not Known) Wikipedia (, Author: Author Not Given)
  Details   Source   DMCA

The office of the Attorney General was established by the Judiciary Act of 1789 as a part-time job for one individual. George Washington chose the first attorney general, Edmund Randolph, one of the lesser-known Founding Fathers. Randolph was selected as one of eleven delegates to represent Virginia at the Continental Congress in 1779, and served as a delegate through 1782. During this period he also remained in private law practice, handling numerous legal issues for George Washington among others.

As delegate from Virginia to the Constitutional Convention, at age 34, Randolph introduced the Virginia Plan as an outline for a new national government. He argued against importation of slaves and in favor of a strong central government. Randolph additionally proposed, and was supported by unanimous approval by the Convention's delegates, "that a National Judiciary be established" (Article III of the Constitution established the federal court system). The Articles of Confederation lacked a national court system for the United States and relied solely on state courts.
The Constitution Did Not Establish the Office of Attorney General

or the Justice Department

The Constitution does not mention the attorney general, the Justice Department or the FBI. In 1789 we were a developing nation with a small population without the need for a large legal bureaucracy.

The Office of the Attorney General and the Justice Department have evolved over the last 240 years. At first, the "Justice Department" had one part-time employee (Mr. Randolph). Now it has more than 100,000 employees, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

President Trump's firing of James Comey, and his intent to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, demonstrate that we need an independently elected attorney general to run the Justice Department. An independent Justice Department will not be subject to Presidential influence or control.

Experience of the States

As we elect attorneys general in nearly every state, we should elect the United States Attorney General. The office of Attorney General has been a political, not legal, position for far too long.

An elected attorney general would be independent of the White House--he or she could not be fired by the President. The elected attorney general would be responsible to the people who elected him or her. As the FBI is part of the Justice Department, the elected attorney general would appoint the head of the Bureau.

Of the 50 state attorneys general, 43 are elected. In five states the attorney general is appointed by the governor (Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Wyoming). In Maine, the attorney general is selected by secret ballot of the legislature and in Tennessee, the state Supreme Court appoints the attorney general.

Real Independence

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russian inquiry, nonetheless assisted President Trump in his removal of James Comey as head of the FBI. Neither the Attorney General, nor President Trump, had the right to fire the FBI director. Eighty-two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Franklin Roosevelt's firing of an FTC Commissioner. Humphey's Executor v. United States, 295 U.S. 602 (1935). Director Comey, like Commissioner Humphrey, was appointed for a designated term and could only be fired for cause. The cause cited by the President was clearly subterfuge--the real reason was to stop Comey's investigation of the Trump campaign's connection with Russia. James Comey could have filed suit to challenge his termination, but has apparently decided not to challenge President Trump's actions, and to publish his side of the story in his book, A Higher Loyalty.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Joel Joseph Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

CEO of California Association for Recycling All Trash, and CEO of Genuine-American Merchandise & Equipment,, manufacturers of tennis equipment in the USA (Tennis Wellbow, Good Vibe vibration (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Trumps and Jared Kushner Cheated Their Way into Elite Colleges

Outsourcing Obamacare

Red Nose Day Gives Black Eye to Walgreens and NBC

Shame on Ralph Lauren and the US Open

Great American Products to Buy Labor Day Weekend

U.S Trade Deficit Causes Income Inequality

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend