The role of Virginia Attorney General

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With Election Day tomorrow, Virginians are poised to elect their next attorney general. Republican nominee John Adams -- a first time candidate with a strong record of service in the Navy and as a federal prosecutor -- has promised to put the laws of the Commonwealth first. 

In a recent story, Breitbart News writes about the role of the attorney general:

How John Adams would approach the job: Former federal prosecutor John Adams is...promising to reject Herring's transforming his office into a political actor, and restoring the office to one that faithfully enforces and defends the commonwealth's laws.

How Mark Herring has approached the job: Herring is the Democratic incumbent, a small-town lawyer without any notable legal accomplishments who has served in various local and state political offices for roughly twenty years. He has modeled his tenure as attorney general in the mold of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, taking an active policymaking role and refusing to defend state laws with which he disagrees.

Why are we certain Adams would uphold the rule of law? For one, he is not a politician. An officer in the U.S. Navy who later graduated from the elite University of Virginia School of Law, Adams later served as a law clerk to Judge David Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, then to Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court. Afterward, he served as associate White House counsel, then as a federal prosecutor.

So, what will Adams do -- what has he campaigned on? Adams is campaigning on restoring the attorney general as a nonpolitical office, as the chief law enforcement officer of the Old Dominion who will vigorously enforce the laws of Virginia. His position is that if the people of Virginia want to change their laws, they must do so through the ballot box and their elected lawmakers, but that an attorney general’s sworn duty is to defend those laws when challenged in court, even if the attorney general personally disagrees with the law. He is running on vigorously fighting violent crime and gang violence, combatting drug abuse and the opioid crisis, and safeguarding individual rights against government abuse.

Adams is an unapologetic constitutional conservative in the mold of Justice Thomas. Like most Supreme Court law clerks (an honor that only one lawyer in 1,000 ever receives), he is well-respected as a brilliant legal mind who can quickly dive deeply into complex constitutional issues, including state sovereignty, criminal law, free speech, religious liberty, and the Second Amendment.

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