The appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General of the United States represents new challenges for the country´s stability and for the lifeblood of the Constitution itself, that establishes the rules for a democratic system.
Whitaker is described as conservative with extreme positions that has previously questioned the power of the judicial branch, as a coequal branch of the government. He described the courts as "the inferior branch" and criticized the judiciary´s power to review legislative acts that rules the nation since the early 1800s.
He seems to already have a formed opinion against the investigation that he has to monitor about the Russian interference in the 2016 election and its possible link with the President's campaign. Former advisory board member of a company accused of fraud, he has expressed his rejection to the Affordable Care Act and advocates for the dismantling of the US Department of Education, among other controversial things.
From the Department of Justice, they based the validity of Whitaker´s appointment as Acting Atorney on statutes on vacancies and successions is adduced. However, experts said that his appointment is illegal. Even, unconstitutional, since it has not been submitted before Senate consideration and confirmation. The Senate confirmation process allows to evaluate if the nominee has the nature and skills for such a responsibility conferred by the President.
Some experts described the presidential action of appointing Whitaker without passing the Senate´s review as an evasion, and even an explicit and calculated mockery of the Constitution. They rightly argue that the purpose of the Constitution is to protect citizens liberties through a form of government that balances the powers and prevents its consolidation in a single body to protect citizens from potential abuse.
Aware of these implications, on Thursday, thousands took to the streets in several cities throughout the nation to express their discomfort. They perceive in the government a gradual, consistent and worrisome expansion of a faction aligned with authoritarian and exclusionary positions embodied by the President. This, just when the President is a target of investigations and numerous questionings.
The mission of the Department of Justice is to enforce the law and defend US interests according to it. That mission, as defined by the agency, includes ensuring public safety against both domestic and foreign threats; offer federal leadership in crime prevention and control; seek a fair punishment for those guilty of wrongful behavior; administer and enforce the nation's immigration laws fairly and effectively; and guarantee fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.
The Senate must evaluate if the designated Attorney General is up to such responsibility. It must be done through rigorous and transparent process that reviews his skills and background to ensure the protection of the constitutents´best interests.
Times request the need for citizens to remain attentive and willing to protect the values of democracy. Last Tuesday´s midterm elections show an awakening of civil society sectors traditionally reluctant to politics.
Before the institutional crisis that the United States is experiencing, citizens active participation has the potential to become the most effective way to counterbalance the abuse of power, to protect them from the erosion of their rights, liberties and democracy itself.
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