Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker said that judges should have a "biblical vision," that he could not support "lay" candidates, and said federal courts should be the "branch" government ".
Whitaker's comments, made during an unsuccessful candidacy in the US Senate in 2014, have prompted a fresh review since President Trump appointed him Wednesday to replace dismissed Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In a debate on April 25, 2014, moderator Erick Erickson questioned the candidates on their faith. Whitaker said that, if elected, he would want judges "who have a biblical view of justice, which, in my opinion, is very important …"
Erickson intervened: "Leviticus or New Testament?"
"I am a new testament," replied Whitaker, according to a monk register account at the time. "And what I know is that as long as they have this vision of the world, they will be a good judge. And if they have a secular worldview, where that's all we have here on Earth, then I'm going to be very concerned about this judge. "
In addition, Whitaker told Iowan's blog Caffeinated Thoughts, which interviewed Senate candidates, that "the courts are supposed to be the lower branch of our three branches of government."
Asked about the worst decisions of the Supreme Court, he criticized the historic decision of 1803 in Marbury c. Madison, which is the foundation for how the courts control public policy.
Whitaker said the case had allowed the Supreme Court to be "the final arbiter".
Marbury c. Madison was written by the fourth chief justice of the nation, John Marshall. He is famous for his statement that "it is absolutely up to the judicial department and the duty of justice to say what the law is".
"The concept of judicial review of the constitutionality of state and federal laws by the Supreme Court is generally based on the epic decision of Marbury v. Madison, "wrote constitutional law expert William Van Alstyne.
This is the fundamental decision of the judiciary, although some conservative jurists who think the courts have too much power have called the decision to create an authority rather than recognition of the authority conferred by the Constitution.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. praised Marshall's efforts as a form of judicial restraint – in this case Marshall concluded that the court did not have the power to do so. requested – and a bold statement on the role of the judiciary.
In a 2006 television interview, Roberts praised Marshall's logic.
"Nothing in the Constitution says that it is the role of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution so as to bind other branches," said Roberts. "Marshall explains to you very clearly his reasoning in Marbury c. Madison. He says, what is the Constitution? It's the law. It is a law that the people have established to control this new government. What are the courts doing? It is up to the courts to say what is the law. If the Constitution is involved in a particular case, it is up to the courts to say what the Constitution means. And that was his mode of reasoning. Very simple. "
In his recent confirmation hearing, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh described this situation as "one of the four greatest moments in the history of the Supreme Court".