Following Trump administration moves such as the addition of a conscience and religious freedom division with the Health and Human Services department and the proclamation that life begins at conception, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now making religion a greater priority in U.S. Attorneys' offices across the country.
Without any substantive public announcement, the administration made changes to the policy manuals for U.S. Attorneys’ offices and Department of Justice (DOJ) litigation offices. These offices are now required to assign a staff member to monitor all litigation and immediately inform high-ranking political appointees at DOJ whenever the offices are subject to a lawsuit involving religious liberty, when religious liberty is used as a defense in litigation, or when the offices file a suit involving religious issues.
But that is not all:
These changes also require U.S. Attorneys and litigation offices to seek the approval of the Associate Attorney General—who is a political appointee—before proceeding with any civil suit that may involve religious liberty issues. By doing so, the Trump administration is favoring religious beliefs above all other matters, and is eroding the independence of these offices by allowing a political appointee to overrule the judgment of career DOJ attorneys.