Former Attorney General of the United States speaks out on left wing politics

Edwin Meese III, who served as Attorney General of the United States during the Reagan Administration, called the recent confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts “trial by ordeal.” Meese spoke at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law Thursday, Sept. 28.Referring to the media hype surrounding the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominees since the hearings of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, Meese said he was appalled at the negative advertising and false accusations directed toward them by left-wing organizations, “Even to the point of dredging up details surrounding the particular eating club Alito belonged to at Yale,” he said. “This confirmation process defies historic norms and menaces the position of the independent judiciary.” Meese addressed Campbell law students and faculty at a lecture sponsored by the Federalist Society, a student organization. Calling the attacks sustained, prolonged and systematic, Meese said judicial confirmation is more of a political contest than ever before. “It is the rule, rather than the exception,” he said. “Left wing radicals are trying to change the political system through litigation rather than legislation and to establish their own political agenda.” This type of change undermines the judicial process, is very trying on the candidate and discourages potential nominees from becoming involved in the process, Meese added. “This isn’t the way the founders intended it to be,” he said. “The genius of our Constitution is in the separation of powers. The whole idea is to separate judges from the political and cultural hot buttons of the moment so that they can interpret the law, not amend it without the vote of the people.” Edwin Meese III graduated from Yale University and earned a Juris Doctor from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as a local prosecutor in Alameda County, Ca., before joining then-Governor Ronald Reagan’s staff in 1967, where he served in several capacities including Chief of Staff. After Reagan’s election in 1980, Meese became counselor to the president, a member of the President’s Cabinet and of the National Security Council. In 1985, Meese was appointed the 75th Attorney General of the United States. He continues to serve as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a think-tank out of Stanford University dedicated to research in domestic policy and international affairs. He is also a Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, a renowned think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense. He is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army and is active in numerous civic and educational organizations.Photo copy: Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General of the United States during the Reagan Administration, chats with Melissa Essary, dean of Campbell’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. (Photo by Shannon Ryals)

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