Assistant Attorney General Beth A. Williams of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy (OLP) announced her departure from the department, effective today.
“Beth has served the Department of Justice with distinction,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Beth led the judicial nomination process for the department, resulting in the confirmation of hundreds of principled jurists who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law. Beth also helped shape the terms of national debate on a range of legal policy questions of significant priority to the department and the administration, including advocating against unlawful nationwide injunctions, protecting religious liberty, improving our regulatory process, and combating human trafficking. I am deeply appreciative of Beth’s service to the department and our country.”
“It has been the honor of my career to serve as Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Policy,” said Assistant Attorney General Williams. “For three and a half years, I have had the privilege of working to make our country safer and more secure, and to preserve and protect our most fundamental freedoms. I have been grateful to work alongside the talented public servants at the department who dedicate their careers to this mission.”
Since 2017, OLP has assisted President Trump in appointing 229 Article III judges to the bench — more than any president has appointed in a single term since 1980. The president’s nominees to date include three Supreme Court justices, 53 Circuit Court judges, 170 District Court judges, three Court of International Trade judges, and numerous judges to other federal courts.
Under Assistant Attorney General Williams’s leadership, OLP has also led the department in taking significant steps to make the regulatory process more lawful, accountable, and transparent. The department recently issued two new regulations establishing a process for the responsible review, clearance, and issuance of guidance documents. The rules officially prohibit the use of guidance documents as an end-run to lawful regulation. OLP also played an instrumental role in the department’s landmark report to Congress issuing a formal recommendation that Congress modernize the 74-year-old Administrative Procedure Act.
Assistant Attorney General Williams also spearheaded departmental efforts to protect religious liberty. As part of this effort and consistent with recent Supreme Court holdings, OLP worked closely with the Office of Justice Programs and other department components to issue guidance making clear that recipients of Department of Justice grant funding would not be discriminated against on the basis of their faith. The guidance is an important affirmation of the department’s commitment to ensure that individuals and organizations driven by faith to serve their communities are not subject to unequal treatment by virtue of their religious identity.
In response to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Assistant Attorney General Williams has focused on policy initiatives geared at protecting our most vulnerable members of society. OLP has worked with department components to prioritize the protection of children from online exploitation, to seek justice for victims of human trafficking, to ensure responsible policing, and to combat elder fraud and abuse.
During Ms. Williams’s tenure as Assistant Attorney General, OLP played a lead role in the department’s cyber policies, including coordinating the development of a recent white paper on cryptocurrency as part of the Cyber-Digital Task Force, and undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the department’s work in the cyber area to identify how federal law enforcement can even more effectively accomplish its mission.
OLP and the entire Department of Justice thank Assistant Attorney General Williams for her service and leadership.