U.S. Attorney General William Barr. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
In a rare move, the New York City Bar Association has asked Congress to investigate U.S. Attorney General William Barr for recent conduct that “threatens public confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice.”
The Jan. 8 letter, sent to House and Senate majority and minority leaders, cited several public actions and statements that position the “attorney general and, by extension, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) as political partisans willing to use the levers of government to empower certain groups over others.”
In October, during a speech at the University of Notre Dame, Barr “launched a partisan attack against ‘so-called “progressives” ’ for supposedly waging a ‘campaign to destroy the traditional moral order,’ ” the letter said. “He charged that ‘secularists’ and ‘their allies among progressives’ were ‘marshal[ing] all the force of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values,’ with the ultimate goal of achieving the ‘organized destruction’ of religion.”
The New York City Bar Association also pointed to a November speech at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, where Barr “again vilified ‘progressives’ and ‘the left’ (characterizing as ‘the other side’ those who ‘oppose this president’) in highly partisan terms.” According to the letter, Barr argued that opponents of President Donald Trump’s policies have been “ ‘engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law.’ ”
Other examples cited in the letter include Barr’s comments condemning district attorneys for stoking anti-law enforcement sentiment after police-involved shootings, as well as his rejection of the DOJ’s inspector general’s finding of no improper political motivation in the FBI’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials in the 2016 election.
In October, the New York City Bar Association also called on Barr to recuse himself from the DOJ’s review of the Trump administration’s involvement with Ukraine.
ABA Journal: “Afternoon Briefs: NYC bar calls for Barr’s Ukraine recusal; law school renamed after donor”