DOJ Alumni Statement Regarding the Appointment of Matthew Whitaker and the Rule of Law

We, the undersigned, are proud alumni of the United States Department of Justice. We have served under Senate-confirmed Attorneys General who come from both political parties.

Because of our respect for our oaths of office and our personal experiences carrying out the Department’s mission, we are disturbed by the President’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker to serve as Acting Attorney General. We know that overseeing the Department of Justice is one of the most important roles in our government. The Attorney General is responsible for ensuring that we are a nation of laws and that every citizen and every government official — including the President himself — is equally subject to those laws. Because of the profound responsibilities the position entails and the independence it requires, it can only be filled by someone who has been subjected to the strictest scrutiny under the process required by the Constitution.

Mr. Whitaker has not been confirmed by the Senate, his qualifications to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer have not been publicly reviewed, and he has not been fully vetted for any potential conflicts of interest. While we know that there are thousands of dedicated public servants now at the Department who will do their utmost to protect its mission and reputation, it falls to all of us to ensure that the Department’s role in maintaining the rule of law is not undermined or tainted. We therefore call on the President to follow the Constitutional process by nominating an Attorney General, and replacing Mr. Whitaker as Acting Attorney General with the Senate-confirmed official who is next in the line of succession by operation of federal law. We likewise call on the Senate to insist that its Constitutional prerogative to provide advice and consent be respected.

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