Professor Andrew Kent co-authored an article for Lawfare examining the current issues facing the Justice Department’s independence and what the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates are saying on the topic.
Donald Trump’s abuses over the past week are just the latest manifestation of his long-running campaign against the independence of the Justice Department—a foundational component of the rule of law and the health of American democracy. And yet the Democratic presidential candidates running to challenge Trump in 2020 have largely stayed silent.
As opposed to, say, health care policy—the nitty-gritty of which the candidates have discussed at length both on the campaign trail and during debates—Democratic hopefuls haven’t trumpeted their proposals for rule-of-law reforms in stump speeches, but they have discussed them in the greatest level of detail on their campaign websites and in response to a survey on executive power conducted by New York Times reporter Charlie Savage. We reviewed a wide range of materials from the campaigns of Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. (Cory Booker and Kamala Harris had already dropped out of the race by the time we began research.)