Saturday, December 8, 2018

More on AG Nominee William Barr

William_Barr _official_photo_as_Attorney_General

Yesterday we learned that President Trump has nominated former AG William Barr to reprise his role as head of the Department of Justice. I decided to do a little Westlaw research - checking out his mentions in Law Reviews & Journals. Here are a few choice snippets, arranged by topic.

Asylum & China

  • "On the last day of the Bush Administration, then-Attorney General William Barr promulgated a rule that would have reinstated the aims of the January 1990 rule and allowed asylum eligibility based on opposition to family planning policies. However, Barr's 1993 rule was never published." (Cleo Kung 2000)
  • "The language of the Barr rule was much stronger than the 1990 version: it turned the discretionary “may” establish a fear of political persecution language into a mandatory “shall,” if an applicant made the proper showing of a fear of persecution based on forced abortion or sterilization" (Meghan Heech 2016)
  • The idea was to overrule Matter of Chang, though this proved ineffective. (Rebecca Bresnick 1995)

Criminal Noncitizens:

  • "Attorney General William Barr proposed increased efforts to deport 'criminal aliens,' stating that '[w]e will not tolerate aliens who come here to prey on the American people.'" (Kevin Johnson 1993 FN 92)


  • "A Department of Justice report called The Case for More Incarceration (1992), promoted by US Attorney General William Barr, for example, argued that “prison works,” urged that the number of people in prison be increased, proposed a major national program of prison construction, and called for the abolition of parole release. Barr's proposals were embodied in proposed legislation that became the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, as amended in 1996. The law unambiguously sought to increase the number of people in prison and the times they spent there." (Michael Tonry 2013)
  • “President Bush's Attorney General, William Barr, touted this piece of data, claiming that'[t]he benefits of increased incarceration would be enjoyed disproportionately by black Americans.'” (Meares 1998)

Unlawful Migration:

  • "Attorney General [Barr] told local law enforcement officials that he wants “to get tough on illegal immigrants who are ‘crashing in the back door.'" (Kevin Johnson 1993 FN 119)


  • "the Attorney General, Janet Reno, and her predecessor, William Barr, did not grant TPS to the Haitians, perhaps because many members of Congress feared that thousands of Haitians, who are really “economic” refugees and not political refugees, would take to the sea and seek asylum in the United States" (Creola Johnson 1994)


  • "As former Attorney General William Barr put it, 'Our conventional criminal justice system is designed to apply to people within our political community, but it doesn't make sense to extend those rights to foreign enemies who are trying to slaughter us. These people are just like the Nazi saboteurs.'” (Amitai Etzioni 2013)
  • "former Attorney General William Barr has even contended that one who has never entered the territory of the United States subjects himself to its jurisdiction and laws by taking actions that have an effect in the United States" (John C. Eastman 2007)

International Law:

  • "The current position is that the President or Congress can, when necessary, override customary international law, because what is customary is not a static concept, but rather an evolving concept. By making judgments which are sometimes out of bounds, the United States plays an important role in shaping those rules. Our Constitution demands that our political branches, and primarily Congress, not let foreign ministries impose rules on the people of the United States without their consent. If customary international law constrains our government from what it considers to be an appropriate response to a situation, it must be rejected.": (R.T. Francis 1993)


  • Barr was one of the individuals who recommended Justice Souter to SCOTUS. (Stephen G. Calabresi 2015).

You can also read works by Barr himself, including his take on "Executive Branch Interpretation of the Law," 15 Cardozo L. Rev. 31 (1993).


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