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Adam Bishop (R-IA) | Press Conference on Attorney General Nomination


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Senator Adam Bishop (R-IA), Senate Majority Whip
Press Conference on the Nomination of John Alexander for U.S. Attorney General

Washington, D.C.


Good morning. I have a statement, so bear with me and then I'll be glad to take some questions.

The Senate's constitutional role in the appointment of Cabinet officials is to offer advice and consent, but the Senate's consent cannot be an automatic rubber stamp. Remarks made by John Alexander in the course of his confirmation hearing are simply disqualifying.

During this hearing, Mr. Alexander has said the individual right to bear arms came into being with the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, rather than acknowledging the individual right to bear arms as the plain meaning of the Second Amendment. The implication is what the Supreme Court giveth, the Supreme Court can taketh away, and Mr. Alexander seems only to be committed to Second Amendment rights insofar as Heller requires him to be. That's a red flag, but by itself it's probably not disqualifying.

The most disqualifying statements Mr. Alexander made were in regard to separation of powers. Mr. Alexander made very clear he believes President Tillman can take it upon herself to decide whether a law is constitutional, and if she decides it isn't, Mr. Alexander is comfortable with declining to defend that law in federal court. I expressed to Mr. Alexander that it's the executive branch's role to enforce and defend the law, while the courts interpret the law and determine constitutionality. Unfortunately, he was unmoved. Later in the confirmation hearing, Mr. Alexander doubled down on his troubling disregard for separation of powers, arguing that the Attorney General has the prerogative to decline to fully enforce federal immigration law if he deems it impractical or inhumane. On top of that, Mr. Alexander made clear he believes state and local governments are essentially empowered to make their own immigration policy, raising questions about his commitment to the federalist balance of power at the heart of our republic.

The Attorney General should be independently minded and prepared to enforce the law under all circumstances, but it's clear Mr. Alexander doesn't have the level of respect and dedication to federalism, separation of powers, and the rule of law we should expect to see in an Attorney General. As I said on the Senate floor, it would be dereliction of duty to my constituents, and total disregard for my oath of office, for me to vote in favor of Mr. Alexander's confirmation. Contrary to what some Democrats seem to think, there's more to being qualified for the office of Attorney General than having the right résumé and not being an ex-convict. Respect for the rule of law is, in fact, a mandatory qualification for Attorney General, and it's a qualification Mr. Alexander lacks. That's why I'm voting against the President's nomination of John Alexander for Attorney General, and I strongly urge President Tillman to show more respect for the Senate's advice and consent role by sending us a new nominee worthy of being the American people's lawyer.

Now I'll take your questions. Who's up first?

Senator Holly Hawthorne (R-AK)

@HollyHawthorne | Join the Freedom Caucus!

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Senator Bishop, how're you whipping your caucus to vote on Alexander? What about the other nominees, do you think they'll make it through?

Christopher Drake

Republican, NY-2

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Former Chief Administrator - Rounds 4 & 5, Evil Arch-Conservative, Frequent Republican Player

 

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4 hours ago, SWMissourian said:

Senator Bishop, how're you whipping your caucus to vote on Alexander? What about the other nominees, do you think they'll make it through?

We're making very clear to the caucus that Mr. Alexander is unfit for the office of Attorney General, and we're confident Republicans will be united against his confirmation. It's an important priority not only for the party but for the country, and our members understand that.

The other Cabinet nominees we've heard from thus far are all well qualified, and while I may have some differences of opinion with them, I believe they're well prepared to handle the tasks ahead for their departments. I anticipate Admiral Shawshank, Dr. Andrews, and Mr. Fonseca will all see significant bipartisan support for their confirmations. We haven't heard from Governor Knox yet, so we'll have to wait and see, but we're looking forward to a thorough and fair hearing.

Senator Holly Hawthorne (R-AK)

@HollyHawthorne | Join the Freedom Caucus!

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