Make John McCain proud of the Senate. Demand promises from William Barr on Robert Mueller.

Too often in today’s United States Senate, style has become a sad substitute for substance, rhetorical expressions of “concern” a stand-in for real action. That’s not the kind of Senate my friend and former boss John McCain revered. He believed that United States senators were elected to six-year terms to do the right thing, regardless of consequences — not to say one thing and do another. Nowhere must that be more true than when it comes to issues fundamental to the rule of law.

As a former attorney general for the state of Arizona, I know how vital it is for law enforcement officials — from state attorneys general to prosecutors to the U.S. attorney general — to preserve the rule of law. That’s why the confirmation hearings for William Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, are the most consequential since 1973.

To avoid a constitutional crisis and to protect the rule of law, the next attorney general must protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s ability to follow the facts, find the truth and make a public report to the American taxpayer. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s job is to ensure that Barr makes those commitments. If he doesn’t, it should reject his nomination. Make no mistake: The Senate, not just the nominee, is being judged this week. 

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