Next Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a nomination hearing for Bill Barr, President Trump’s nominee for attorney general. Barr is a remarkable and deeply experienced choice, having previously served as attorney general in President George H.W. Bush’s administration (at the age of 41, no less). It’s hard to think of someone more qualified for the job. Another former attorney general, Michael Mukasey, believes that Barr is “probably the best-qualified nominee for U.S. attorney general since Robert Jackson in 1940.” High praise indeed.
Barr has equally impressive experience in the private sector. Barr served as general counsel and executive vice-president of Verizon for 15 years. After retiring from Verizon, Barr joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of the nation’s top law firms. Oh, and did I mention that he’s argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court? It’s not surprising that the Boston Herald believes that Barr is “eminently qualified for the position” of attorney general.
In addition to being an outstanding lawyer, Barr is known for his independence and ferocity. George Terwilliger III—who served under Barr as deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration—describes Barr as being “without fear of political pressures from any side.” And Ted Olsen, former solicitor general to President George W. Bush, likewise says Barr is someone who “isn’t going to wilt in the face of heavy fire” and who has “the ability to withstand pressure from many directions.” Even Sen. Patrick Leahy said in 1991 that Barr would be “an independent voice for all Americans—not just the President” if confirmed as attorney general. These attributes are precisely what the country needs in our next attorney general.
In 1993, Barr was unanimously confirmed to be attorney general with a voice vote. It’s hard to imagine history repeating itself 28 years later in light of the unprecedented Democratic obstruction that we have witnessed the last two years (although Sen. Leahy recently acknowledged that Barr could garner bipartisan support). But in Bill Barr, President Trump has nominated a supremely accomplished lawyer who will run the DOJ with independence and excellence. He deserves swift and overwhelming confirmation.