Washington, D.C. (PRESS RELEASE) During a confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo questioned Attorney General-designee Senator Jeff Sessions about states’ rights, federal agency overreach and federal abuse of power. Sessions agreed with Crapo that, too often, federal agencies have “forgotten” their role and relationships with states.
Crapo, a new member of the committee, has led efforts to stop recent federal agency actions harmful to property owners, businesses, veterans and Social Security recipients. He has also worked to stop the federal “Waters of the U.S.” rule, which would sharply increase federal control over what has been traditionally state control of water rights.
“Our system of government is comprised of 50 states in a union, under a Constitution that establishes the federal government,” said Crapo. “The 10th Amendment says that those rights and powers not specifically granted to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved to the states and to the people, respectively. If we simply had a better level of respect for the role of states in this union and under our Constitution, we could work out a lot more of these issues rather than having the heavy hand of the federal litigation system.” Responding to Crapo, Sessions recalled some of his experiences as a young prosecutor saying that while most crimes are the responsibility of the state to prosecute, many federal agencies today have, “forgotten that distinction, that limit on federal power.”
During the hearing, Crapo noted that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration have taken steps to place law-abiding Americans on the national criminal background check list, limiting their right to own a firearm. He also said the Department of Justice has sought to limit access to credit to legal businesses, such as gun, coin or tobacco dealers, under a plan called Operation Choke Point, and fought him and other members of Congress, when they tried to stop the program.
Crapo said he hoped Sessions would not follow some of these kinds of practices undertaken by the outgoing Administration. He also noted Sessions’ public and unwavering commitment to the law and Constitution and said he expects to support his nomination for Attorney General.
Video of Senator Crapo’s questions and answers with Senator Sessions can be viewed by clicking on the image above.