Then there’s Trump’s new pick for attorney general, William P. Barr. Aside from Sessions and Otis, it would be hard to find a more retrograde, anti-reform candidate to head up the Justice Department. The first thing to know about Barr is that he co-signed an op-ed published in The Post praising Sessions’ work at DOJ — specifically, the latter’s refusal to investigate police agencies accused of routine civil rights abuses, and his rollback of Obama administration guidelines asking federal prosecutors to consider charging for lesser crimes and asking for lighter sentences in some cases.
Barr didn’t just support some of the worst criminal-justice policies of the 1990s, he wrote and helped implement many of them. While attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration, he oversaw the publication of a report called “The Case for More Incarceration.” In 1994, after leaving DOJ, he co-wrote a plan to abolish parole in Virginia. He publicly supported the first, most draconian version of Trump’s “Muslim ban,” and has a long record of anti-immigration advocacy. The ACLU points out that as AG, “Barr ordered telephone companies “to turn over lists of all phone calls from the USA” to dozens of countries under a Drug Enforcement Administration program that was a precursor to the bulk phone metadata program disclosed by Edward Snowden and repealed by Congress in the 2015 USA Freedom Act.”
One of the chief aims of the criminal-justice-reform movement is address and reduce racial discrimination in our courts, prisons and police agencies. Barr, like Sessions, doesn’t seem to think such discrimination exists.