Up in smoke

I wrote here about the void in the Trump/Sessions, where four nominees for Assistant Attorney General positions are being held up due to Senate inaction. The four positions are crucial ones: Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division; Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division; Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division; and Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division.

Why can’t these nominees get a vote? Apparently, it’s because of marijuana. Sen. Cory Gardner is vexed with Attorney General Sessions over enforcement of Federal marijuana laws in Colorado.

Alfred Regnery, citing just one of the four major gaps at the Justice Department, points out the absurdity of the situation:

There is no permanent presidential appointee at the Justice Department in charge of combating terrorism because a Republican senator has put discretionary federal marijuana enforcement above U.S. national security in his priorities.

No matter how one feels about the dispute between Sessions and Gardner over enforcement of federal marijuana laws in Colorado, it is the height of irresponsibility to block the administration from staffing key positions at the DOJ over this matter. As Christian Adams has illustrated, the absence of presidential appointees at the Assistant Attorney General level leaves left-wing Obama holdovers with enormous sway at the Justice Department. Sen. Gardner’s priorities are grossly out of whack.

Attorney General Sessions addressed this issue today in an address to the National Sheriffs’ Association. He stated:

Right now, we’re trying to confirm a number of important component heads at the Department of Justice. That includes a new head of our Criminal Division, our Civil Rights Division, and our National Security Division. These are critically important components—and outstanding nominees. Our nominee to lead the National Security Division was approved unanimously in committee. But because of one senator’s concerns over unrelated political issues—like legalizing marijuana—we can’t even get a vote.

I’m Attorney General of the United States. I don’t have the authority to say that something is legal when it is illegal—even if I wanted to. I cannot and will not pretend that a duly enacted law of this country—like the federal ban on marijuana—does not exist. Marijuana is illegal in the United States—even in Colorado, California, and everywhere else in America.

We need our nominees confirmed. Safety and security are just too important.

But not, it seems, in the estimation of the one Senator in question.

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