In a post called “Up in Smoke,” I discussed Sen. Cory Gardner’s decision to put a hold on all pending Justice Department nominees in retaliation for Jeff Sessions’ revocation of a memo issued by the Obama DOJ regarding enforcement of federal law regarding marijuana. The memo in question discouraged federal prosecutors in most cases from bringing charges wherever the drug is legal under state law. Sessions called the memorandum unnecessary and said that federal decisions on marijuana prosecution will follow the well-established principles that govern the way federal prosecutors decide how to use “finite resources” in all cases.
Sessions wasn’t threatening to shut down or impede Colorado’s lucrative pot industry. In fact, his reference to “finite resources” clearly signaled that his DOJ will not persecute pot-heads in ordinary cases. The local U.S. attorney made this even clearer.
Nonetheless, Sen. Gardner decided to block President Trump’s nominees for four critical Assistant U.S. Attorney position — Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division; Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division; Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division; and Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division. By doing so, he enables left-wing Obama holdovers and career government lawyers to retain a considerable amount of control over DOJ policy and practice.
All in the name of pot and, I suppose, the “multibillion-dollar marijuana legalization movement.”
Gardner has modified his absurd obstructionist position. He now says he will lift holds on certain Department of Justice nominees as a show of good faith for continued positive conversations with DOJ leadership. Now he will permit Obama holdovers to control only some precincts of the DOJ — including, I understand, the ultra-leftist Civil Rights Division. He will continue to hold key slots hostage to dope.
This is a disgrace. Again, it’s not like the Sessions Justice Department is cracking down on pot in Colorado. All it has done is refuse formally to throw federal law under the bus. Coloradans can still get as high as they want while others reel in the profits. But, as Sessions says, “I cannot and will not pretend that a duly enacted law of this country—like the federal ban on marijuana—does not exist.”
Gardner is also a sponsor of the Schumer legislation that will grant amnesty to “Dreamers” in exchange for almost nothing meaningful in the way of border security and nothing meaningful in the way of true immigration reform. He seems no more interested in enforcing our immigration laws than in enforcing our drug laws, and indifferent to whether Democrats or Republicans control key divisions of the Justice Department.
With Republicans like Gardner in Congress, who needs Democrats?