Posts Tagged ‘Justice Department’
February 24th, 2015 at 2:26 pm
Is Obama’s Diva Status a Reason to Accelerate Amnesty Lawsuit?

Consider the following as an example of how much President Barack Obama and his administration think the rule of law should bend to suit their political calculations.

The Justice Department asked a federal court on Monday to reverse its decision to halt the president’s unilateral amnesty directive within 48 hours so that Obama could assure activists attending a town hall in Miami on Wednesday that deportation waivers and work permits would be in the mail.

The expedited timeline is being objected to by Texas and the 20+ other states suing to require the Obama administration to follow federal law and give advance notice and a comment period to the public, reports the LA Times.

Fairness suggests that if the Justice Department took a week to file its request to reverse, Texas and its fellow challengers should get at least as much time to defend their position.

The Justice Department’s self-serving request highlights the central problem driving this litigation – Obama is a diva whose political calculations trump the rule of law.

The federal courts should slap down that dangerous misconception, early and often.

September 25th, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Eric Holder’s Legacy at DOJ: Not Enforcing the Law

Eric Holder, the controversial face of the Obama Justice Department, is stepping down as United States Attorney General.

The timing seems odd. If Democrats lose control of the U.S. Senate in this year’s midterm elections – a very likely prospect – it will be impossible for President Barack Obama to win confirmation for a replacement as polarizing as Holder.

That would be a good thing for the Republic.

Among the many blemishes on Holder’s tenure as AG – such as the Fast and Furious scandal, his unprecedented Contempt of Congress citation, his failed attempt to prosecute the 9/11 conspirators in a civil court instead of a military tribunal – it’s the so-called “legacy” actions Holder took that should give observers the most pause.

According to NPR, “Holder most wants to be remembered for his record on civil rights: refusing to defend a law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman; suing North Carolina and Texas over voting restrictions that disproportionately affect minorities and the elderly; launching 20 investigations of abuses by local police departments; and using his bully pulpit to lobby Congress to reduce prison sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. Many of those sentences disproportionately hurt minority communities.”

Notice what’s missing?

Only one achievement on the list actually enforces the law. (And even this area, prosecuting allegedly abusive local police departments, tells us a lot since it’s directed at cops and not, say, verified abuses by the New Black Panthers.)

Everything else – from refusing to defend a traditional marriage statute to playing a prison reform lobbyist – are actions designed to undermine the law as written.

Eric Holder shouldn’t worry. His legacy is clear. His will be remembered as the time when activism replaced lawyering and the rule of law suffered.

Hopefully, it’s not the start of a trend.

July 13th, 2012 at 6:28 pm
Texas Voter ID “Clown Show”

A bit late, I post this tremendous account by Christian Adams of the almost criminally incompetent (and ideologically nuts) Justice Department behavior in a key trial over Texas’ voter-ID law. Amazing stuff.

One tiny excerpt:

But the testimony got even more ridiculous.  San Antonio teenager Victoria Rodriguez travelled the whole way to Washington, D.C., for the clown show.  She testified that she did not have photo ID, even though she had the birth certificate to get a free one.  Her excuse?  She couldn’t find the time. Neither could her parents be bothered to drive her to get the ID.  One wonders if Victoria Rodriguez ever leaves the house, or when she does, if she has other priorities besides voting.  I’d suspect so.

One also wonders why DOJ lawyers decided to put her on the stand.

This travesty, this abomination, is typical of the Obama-Holder (in)Justice Department. For shame.

April 24th, 2012 at 2:19 pm
Holder’s DOJ Continues Racialist Practices with Lawsuit Against Jacksonville Fire Department
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As has been chronicled at length here at CFIF, one of the hallmarks of Eric Holder’s Justice Department has been its insistence on injecting race into the public square as often as possible. And one of the areas where this has played out in department policy has been in the DOJ’s repeated threats to crack down on police and fire forces for what it claims are racially discriminatory employment practices.

In 2009, for example, the New Haven, Connecticut, Fire Department threw out the results of a standardized test aimed at measuring candidates’ suitability for promotion when the number of African-American candidates who passed was deemed insufficiently high. The department was motivated in part by fear of a Justice Department lawsuit — a fear that proved to be well-founded when the DOJ filed suit against the state of New Jersey the following year because white test-takers had a higher passage rate (89 percent) than black (73 percent) or Hispanic (77 percent) candidates in an exam for police promotions.

Neither of these cases featured allegations that the tests or the promotion processes were inherently racist. Rather, they simply rested on the DOJ’s notion that unequal outcomes are inherently unjust; that the fact of disparate results was sufficient, in and of itself, to reveal systemic injustice.

So far, the results of DOJ pressure have been mixed. The New Haven firefighters whose successful test results were thrown out took their case all the way to the Supreme Court, where the justices ruled in their favor, 5-4. In New Jersey, however, the DOJ’s bullying tactics won the day, with the state agreeing to revise the exam and issue back pay to minority officers (many of whom resented the feds’ “help”).

Yet that inconsistent track record isn’t keeping the department from going at it again. This time they’re taking the show to Jacksonville, Florida. Per a DOJ release from yesterday:

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the city of Jacksonville, Fla., alleging that the city is engaged in a pattern or practice of employment discrimination against African-Americans in its fire and rescue department in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The lawsuit challenges the fire department’s use of written examinations for the promotion of firefighters to four ranks – Lieutenant, Captain, and District Chief, all in the suppression line, and Engineer…

The United States’ complaint alleges that the examinations impact African-American candidates in two ways.  First, African-American candidates for promotion to the four positions pass the examinations at significantly lower rates than white candidates.  Second, even those African-Americans who pass the examinations are rarely promoted because the fire department selects candidates for promotion in descending rank-order based primarily upon each candidate’s written examination score and African-American candidates score significantly lower than whites.

Notice that there’s nothing in there that any fair observer could characterize as bias. Rather, the complaint is, in essence, that the Jacksonville Fire Department is too objective.

As the police officers in New Jersey noted in the piece linked above, even a successful outcome for the DOJ will not have the effect of helping out minority officers, whose qualifications will now be called into question on the basis of de facto affirmative action.

If the feds really wanted to help out, they would examine the underlying causes of why the tests exhibit racial disparities in the first place. Could it be that America’s public schools — rotting as the result of the influence of teachers unions — have disproportionately failed minority communities? Could it be that the social pathologies subsidized in perpetuity by the welfare state have thwarted upward mobility in poor neighborhoods?

Answering those questions, of course, would require some real soul-searching. And it might also require giving up the notion that good intent is sufficient to make Democrats the perpetual guardians of America’s minority communities, no matter what kind of havoc their policies wreak in reality. But that’s a level of introspection we shouldn’t expect from this Administration. In Eric Holder’s DOJ, it’s easier to just file a lawsuit and assume that the other guy’s a racist.

February 27th, 2012 at 3:09 pm
Eric Holder: Reality is Racist
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Pity Eric Holder. To be a professional scold is not an attractive quality. Nor is being woefully incompetent. Yet Holder manages to be both. Thus do we end up with the Attorney General of the United States decrying the racism of … wait for it … school principals throughout America. From the Daily Caller:

“We’ve often seen that students of color, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with special needs are disproportionately likely to be suspended or expelled,” Holder said in Atlanta, Ga.

“This is, quite simply, unacceptable. … These unnecessary and destructive policies must be changed,” Holder said at the meeting, which was hosted by 100 Black Men of Atlanta Inc.

Holder attributed his claim of racial disparity in school discipline to a 2011 study that he said showed “83 percent of African American male students and 74 percent of Hispanic male students ended up in trouble and suspended for some period of time.”

However, Holder’s speech ignored the report’s conclusion that 59 percent of white males are also disciplined. He ignored other data suggesting that the different discipline rates roughly align with actual schoolyard behavior.

If one presumes racism is everywhere, one is destined to find it everywhere. As Abraham Maslow noted, for the man with only a hammer in his toolkit, every problem is a nail.

January 16th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
Eric Holder’s Rank Dishonesty Continues

Politico has the story of Holder again crying wolf (actually, it’s worse than crying wolf) and playing the race card (sorry: more accurately, it’s worse than that; it’s flat-out race-hustling) about voter ID laws and other legitimate efforts to stop the voter fraud which has become such a staple of the deliberate efforts of pro-Democratic interest groups. This is especially a large issue in South Carolina, where the Justice Department has blocked a voter-ID law even though it tracks laws in Indiana and Georgia that the Supreme Court already has ruled are perfectly allowable under the Constitution. This is, as has become the norm under Holder, nothing less than sheer lawlessness from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

These people do not care about what the Constitution and laws actually say; they merely care about twisting the law to gain power. They are flagrantly anti-republican (small ‘r’) and anti-constitutionalist, and they must be stopped.

December 21st, 2011 at 5:13 pm
Re Ashton, on Holder…. and the Count is up to 90… er, 91!!

When I wrote my column on Eric Holder this week, I meant to make reference to Ashton’s column and subsequent blog post on the same subject, but went off on a tangent and never did. But I agree entirely with his points, and with those of Troy, who it seems was reacting to Eric Holder playing the race card at almost exactly the same time, and in much the same way, as I was. I particularly appreciate Troy reminding us (I forgot to include it) of the time Holder referred to “my people” (meaning, of course, only black people) when responding to criticism of his handling of the Black Panther case — yet another example of hideously race-centric thinking.

The good news on this front is that the count of congressmen expressing “no confidence” in Holder — in effect, although not explicitly, a demand for his resignation or ouster — is now 91. This is getting close to reaching semi-critical mass.

The question is, where the bleep are the other 15 or so GOP House members? Where are all the GOP senators? For that matter, how about any self-respecting, country-first, moderate or even liberal Democrats who care more about doing the right thing than for playing politics? Where is the courage? When will they get a clue? The lawlessness and incompetence at Justice — especially, but certainly not anywhere entirely, evident in the Fast and Furious scandal — is an utter travesty, and justice and propriety compel Holder’s dismissal and a thorough cleaning of his Augean Stables. This is a subject the public will understand, and one on which they are sure to side against the Holderite contingent of racialist bumblers. Then again, waiting for many GOP senators to get a clue is probably more pointless even than waiting for Godot.

December 1st, 2011 at 5:48 pm
FCC Malfeasance on AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Threatens American Jobs, Breaks with Established Protocol
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So federal bureaucrats at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), those known master micromanagers of the American economy, concluded in their wisdom to oppose the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, two independent, free, private parties.  Along the way, the FCC went to the improper and unprecedented extreme of releasing a staff report gratuitously and inaccurately critiquing the justifications offered for the merger.  Again, we’re talking about a merger between two consenting, informed parties.  We’re also talking about a merger application that was voluntarily withdrawn by the parties.  Yet the FCC, for reasons still unexplained, broke with decades of administrative protocol and published the staff report.

Remember, this is the same supposedly omnipotent federal government that managed the housing market so well in recent decades through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, not to mention the splendid business acumen it displayed in the energy sector with such examples as Solyndra.  And it’s the same FCC that incompetently attempted to commandeer Internet service through so-called “Net Neutrality,” which earned it a unanimous rebuke from the D.C. Court of Appeals and Congress.

Turning its eye toward the telecommunications industry, the FCC decided in its considered expertise that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger was not in the best interests of the American people.  As one particularly curious example, the FCC staff report claims that the proposed merger would cause job losses.  One would think that federal regulators would be more circumspect in asserting job projections in light of the slow-motion “stimulus” disaster that was supposed to cap unemployment at 8% in October 2009.  Instead, unemployment stands at 9% and has exceeded 8% for a record number of months.  Moreover, if the merger was a likely job-killer, why would even the Communication Workers of America (CWA) labor union support it?  The FCC asks us to believe that the labor union most impacted by the proposed merger would somehow seek fewer dues-paying members?

Moreover, the FCC itself within the past month claimed that its own $4.5 billion fund to deploy wireline broadband to just 7 million Americans would create “500,000 jobs and $50 billion in economic growth.”  Yet it now contradicts itself by claiming the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger, which would deploy broadband service to the far greater number of 55 million Americans, would somehow destroy jobs?  In other words, the FCC seems to think that smaller amounts of government spending to bring broadband to a smaller number of people will create jobs, but much larger amounts of private investment to bring broadband to a much greater number of people will not.

Federal bureaucrats are unequipped to micromanage the telecom industry, just as they’re incompetent to tell Boeing (America’s top exporter) where it can and cannot operate manufacturing plants.  It’s yet another example that the FCC is out of control, and threatening American jobs by its malfeasance.

July 15th, 2011 at 8:29 am
Video: The Backdoor Amnesty Scam
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In this week’s Freedom MinuteCFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the administration’s move to trump the will of the American people and Congress through de facto imposition of the so-called DREAM Act by executive fiat.

July 7th, 2011 at 3:15 pm
Adding to the List of Reasons for Why Republicans Shouldn’t Cave on Tax Increases

C.J. Ciaramella of The Daily Caller reports

The Securities and Exchange Commission gave up its leasing authority yesterday and could face a Justice Department probe in light of a $550 million leasing scandal.

At a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee meeting yesterday, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro ceded the agency’s leasing authority and admitted it had made a “terrible mistake” when it put taxpayers on the hook for a half-billion dollar lease for office space it didn’t need.

And this is the same government that now wants to increase taxes as part of a “deal” to raise the debt ceiling?

June 24th, 2011 at 2:01 pm
Of Elevator Eyes and Marsupial Justice

The great Michael Barone has (as usual) a wonderful column out about the latest outrage from what probably should be renamed the Obama/Holder “Department of (in)Justice, Political Hit Jobs and Racialist Authoritarianism” (DoIPHRA). It appears that DoIPHRA isn’t merely content with covering up for New Black Panthers, telling black voters they are too stupid to know their own interests, forcing seniors to accept Medicare coverage they don’t even want, putting up roadblocks against expanded military voting opportunities, and making a fetish of fighting anti-gay “bullying” without real authority to do so. Nor is it satisfied with screwing up the matter of detention of enemy combatants or refusing to defend the law of the land (DOMA), nor, in a burgeoning scandal, of providing guns to Mexican drug runners which were used to kill an American official.

Now, as Barone reports, the Obamites have given a tacit push to the terrorizing speech czars on college campuses to outlaw flirting, sexual double-entendres, and other highly typical behaviors of collegians:

What the seemingly misnamed Office of Civil Rights is doing here is demanding the setting up of kangaroo courts and the dispensing of what I would call Marsupial Justice against students who are disfavored by campus denizens because of their gender or race or political attitude. “Alice in Wonderland’s” Red Queen would approve….

Again, do read the entirety of Barone’s column. It’s one more example of how these radicals with frightening powers are trying to cram their agendas down our throats.

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:55 pm
Hiring Bias at DoJ

The rot in the Obama/Holder Justice Department, especially in its Civil Rights Division, is a particularly important topic to me, and a big sore spot (as well as a threat to the constitutional order).

Thus I was particularly aghast to see the New York Times the other day run a truly bizarre story attempting, somehow, to show that the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice has been wonderfully de-politicized by the Obamites.  The story is bizarre because the facts cited within the article show precisely the opposite.

Here’s how the NYT (via reporter Charlie Savage) frames the story:  “Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has reversed a pattern of systematically hiring conservative lawyers with little experience in civil rights, the practice that caused a scandal over politicization during the Bush administration.” The Times then goes to great lengths to explain that those hired by the Obama team came from law schools with higher “ranks” than did the Bush hires (“more selective law schools,” in another description), and that those hires had far more “experience in civil rights.”


Having a “background in civil rights” is a self-defining criterion — as defined by the Left.  As the story itself explained it, the definition of “civil rights” experience is self-limiting, because it encompasses (only) “traditional civil rights organizations with liberal reputations, like the American Civil Liberties Union or the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.”

Of course, all sorts of right-leaning organizations also are concerned with civil rights, as are lawyers in private firms who fight against absurd actions by these liberal groups that purport to be in favor of “civil rights” but that in conservative understandings actually undermine civil rights.  If one defines “experience in civil rights” as encompassing only lefty versions of civil rights, then, of course, more Obamite hires will show such “experience” on their resumes. But that does NOT mean that they are the only ones who have done legal work dealing with civil rights issues.

Here are the key facts, dutifully reported by the Times but buried and spun so that the real import is hidden:

At the same time, there was a change in the political leanings of organizations listed on the résumés, where discernible. Nearly a quarter of the hires of the Bush group had conservative credentials like membership in the Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association, while only 7 percent had liberal ones.

By contrast, during the first two Obama years, none of the new hires listed conservative organizations, while more than 60 percent had liberal credentials. They consisted overwhelmingly of prior employment or internships with a traditional civil rights group, like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Look at that again. Not one single new hire for a “career” position by the Obamites had any prior conservative associations. Not one. If that isn’t a sign of true politicization, nothing is.  There is quite literally no way that an apolitical hiring practice could fail to snag at least a single conservative, from 120 hires, in a nation that is majority center-right and with a very large conservative plurality.

If the establishment media had an ounce of intellectual integrity — yeah, I know, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride — then this report would be treated as a major scandal.

This topic merits far lengthier exposition and discussion, but for now suffice it to say that a Civil Rights Division that absolutely excludes conservatives is a sign of viewpoint discrimination that itself should trigger a civil rights investigation — and investigation into the Civil Rights Division itself, one which ought to take some real scalps, starting with that of flagrantly dishonest division chief Thomas E, Perez.

Meanwhile, in sad news that further indicts the DoJ, Hans von Spakovsky writes that whistleblower Christopher Coates, with a tremendous amount of terrific “civil rights experience,” effectively has been hounded out of the Justice Department that he has served with great distinction for nearly two decades.  This comes after he first was, in effect, banished from Washington, all for the sin of trying to enforce laws against racist New Black Panthers to the letter of the law.

Today at the Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Rabinowitz was referring more to the terrorism-related actions/inactions of DOJ than to the other Civil Rights Division problems when she wrote that a good Republican candidate for president “would do well to give time and all due detail—the material is rich—on the activities of the Justice Department under President Obama, the most ideologically driven one in U.S. history. He would make the connection between the nature of this Justice Department and the president’s view of the American nation.” But her advice applies across the board, including and especially to the Civil Rights Division.

April 18th, 2011 at 11:34 am
A Spate of InJustice

Ashton this past weekend noted the latest failure of Eric Holder’s Justice Department. A spate of reports last week indicates that some of the Holder team’s other areas of inaction are even worse — and that its actions in still other areas are at least as bad as the areas of inaction.

In terms of inaction, there was the report from Pajamas Media, borderline frightening in its implications, that the Obama/Holder team is failing or, worse, refusing to prosecute instances of terror financing:

But from a political perspective there was absolutely no way that they could move forward. That’s why this decision came from the top down. These individuals who were going to be prosecuted are still the administration’s interfaith allies. Not only would these Muslim groups and their friends in the media be screaming “Islamophobia” at the top of their lungs and that this is a war against Islam, but the administration would look like absolute fools. It’s kind of hard to prosecute someone on material support for terrorism when you have pictures of them getting handed awards from DOJ and FBI leaders for their supposed counter-terror efforts.

Then there is the Holder team’s highly politicized hiring practices, which are actually worse — more slanted in one direction, and deliberately so — than anything the much-maligned Bush DoJ did. J. Christian Adams updated the story at the Washington Examiner, which both he and the Washington Times had earlier (at different times) brought to light. As the WashTimes noted last October:

Among the new hires are: Sharyn Tejani comes from the National Partnership for Women and Families, a hotbed of liberal activism, where she served as one of the lead attorneys filing a Supreme Court brief supporting an explicitly race-based refusal to promote white firemen in New Haven, Conn. Aaron Schuham comes directly from Americans United for Separation of Church and State – a group so leftist, it has argued the Obama administration isn’t liberal enough. Audrey Wiggins comes from another liberal bastion, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which also filed a brief against the white firefighters. Bryan Sells comes from the American Civil Liberties Union, as does Meredith Bell-Platts.

As Adams concluded:

Attorneys in the Civil Rights Division should be legal technicians, not activists. The division is the only division of the Justice Department where cases are initiated and brought by low-level line attorneys.Every other division is reactive, not proactive. If adopting the agenda of outside activist groups constitutes “reinvigorating” the Civil Rights Division, the next Republican president needs to deinvigorate it soon after taking office.

Earlier in his column, he reported these bizarrities ignored by the establishment media:

Other bizarre cases have come out of the Holder Civil Rights Division. DOJ stopped the debut of the Amazon Kindle because it was not in Braille. It attacked South Carolina for providing special treatment to inmates infected with AIDS. It demanded that Dayton, Ohio, hire black police officers who failed the competency examination.

Then there’s this from former DoJ official Hans von Spakovsky, writing in the Washington Times, reminding us of two lawless, race-based actions by the Holder DoJ, both involving the jettisoning of neutral, fair entrance exams for police and firefighters. Von Spakovsky also has this over at his Heritage Foundation home, telling about DoJ’s abuse of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Finally (for now), while the news in the following case is more about bad judging than about any new DoJ shenanigans, the whole case on the Arizona immigration law stemmed from DoJ shenanigans in the first place. Again, von Spakovsky reports.

The Holder team is willfully abusive of the law as written and traditionally interpreted. It is a disgrace.

March 19th, 2010 at 2:27 pm
Eric Holder Would Be Fired If Obamacare Were Already Passed

Another week, and now there are two articles dissecting Eric Holder’s tumultuous ride as United States Attorney General.  In one, Michael Gerson lists five consequential mistakes, any one of which would be enough to spur the Democratic blogosphere into a feeding frenzy had Alberto Gonzalez been the culprit.  Among his transgressions are incoherently keeping some Bush era terrorism policies while changing others.  The effect is creating a man without a constituency.  Then, there are the quickly reversed decisions to try certain terrorists in civilian court, close down the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, and give Miranda warnings to the undie-bomber.

Almost forgot; Holder’s planned indictments of John Yoo and Jay Bybee fizzled after being dismissed by the Justice Department’s top career attorney.

Not to be outdone, Massimo Calabresi attempts to explain away any threat to Holder’s job security as the product of partisan Republicans.  However, he doesn’t give one example of a major Holder decision carrying the day.

The overriding prominence of Obamacare is certainly benefiting Holder because it is shielding him from a much-deserved performance review.   Sacking him now would only add to the perception that the Obama Cabinet is staffed by people who couldn’t manage themselves out of a paper bag.

Unlike the specter of Kathleen Sebelius, Eric Holder has made his presence felt in this administration.  If President Obama ever gets a string of wins, don’t be surprised to see Holder announcing his intention to return to the private sector.

March 13th, 2010 at 12:32 am
Prediction: AG Holder Will Be the First Cabinet Member to Leave

Though I don’t subscribe to the idea that public officials should be hounded out of office over policy differences, I do think there comes a time when a person becomes such a distraction that an Administration is probably better off asking for a resignation.  That time is fast approaching for Attorney General Eric Holder.  By all accounts, he is a decent man with establishment credentials.  He may even be a good attorney.  But he is not an effective Attorney General.

To date, Holder’s most consequential decision as AG was moving Guantanamo Bay detainees from a military court system to a New York federal criminal court.  Though the decision was apparently fought by the White House, President Barack Obama let Holder make the call.  After protests from everybody except the Justice Department, the decision is in the process of being reversed.

Now, it is revealed that he failed to provide the Senate with seven briefs he signed prior to his nomination as AG.  Republicans claim these are material omissions that could have derailed his nomination.  Probably not.  But all of these are self-inflicted wounds that give the president’s opponents something to crow about.  As of today, Holder is a third strike away from being the first Obama Cabinet member to be asked to call it quits.

November 23rd, 2009 at 2:21 am
Mr. Pitts, Call Your Editor
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Sometimes I think the best way for conservatives to dominate public opinion would be to just get out of the way and let liberals do all the talking.

A good example of this principle can be found in the new column by the Miami Herald’s Leonard Pitts. In a defense of Attorney General Holder’s decision to bring Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other Al Qaeda terrorists to trial in civilian courts, Pitts claims that the primary motivation of those opposed to the move is a visceral need for vengeance:

Pitts’ response:

But you have to wonder: Are our emotional needs the most important consideration here?

It’s worth remembering that even the architects of the greatest barbarism in history had their day in court. After burning away 11 million lives, the leaders of the Nazi regime found themselves facing not summary execution, but a trial before a military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany.

As prosecutor Robert Jackson put it: “That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason.”

One little problem. The enlightened example cited by Mr. Pitts was a military tribunal — exactly what KSM and company would have had if the Attorney General hadn’t booked their Manhattan vacation.  Never mind that Nuremberg only took place after World War II had ended …

October 19th, 2009 at 5:35 pm
Meet Barack Obama’s Attorney General — John Calhoun
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Regardless of how you feel about its policy aspects, the legal components of the Obama Administration’s decision to essentially halt prosecution for users of medical marijuana in states where it is legal is curious.

The problem is that the Controlled Substances Act has prohibited marijuana as a matter of federal law since the 1970s.  And in 2005, the Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v. Raich clarified that this federal power supercedes the states’ ability to legalize pot for medicinal purposes.  Yet despite the fact that there has been no change in federal law, the Justice Department is now essentially allowing the states to nullify the statute by telegraphing that DOJ won’t bring prosecutions.

In fairness, you can make a good case that the medical marijuana laws really are an instance of federal excess (Clarence Thomas does it very well in his Gonzales dissent).  But that’s an argument about what should be, not what is.  And in a nation of laws, that’s not enough.