Tag: Attorney General

The Lopsided Scales of Justice

 

Like many Americans, I’m busy. I work and maintain a house, so I catch the news on the fly most days. Quite frankly, I can’t take it for longer than 15-minute intervals because it’s so bad. So I set up the ironing board and flipped on the TV this morning to make sure a meteor wasn’t heading towards Earth. There was our Attorney General on Capitol Hill being grilled on the latest “justice issues.”

A hot question was why the Justice Dept. is getting involved in school board meetings? Talking heads are starting to label parents who question what schools are teaching as domestic terrorists? Some school board meetings have been heated for good reason, and no one condones threats or violence. Where is this coming from? It stems from a letter announcing the investigation of threats that will involve the following agencies?

“The letter noted that law enforcement in some communities needed extra help monitoring threat levels, and specifically asked for resources from the DOJ, FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.” — The Hill 10/5/21

It’s Time to End Senate Confirmation Hearings

 

One of the Senate’s unique responsibilities is to “advise and consent” on nominations to senior positions in the Executive Branch, as well as every federal judgeship, from districts to the Supreme Court. It is serious business and takes a lot of time.

I would know since I’ve been a nominee subject to Senate confirmation (Federal Election Commission, 1996. It’s a long story, but I pulled the plug on my own nomination. A story for another day).

The last confirmation hearings that gripped the American public was the Brett Kavanaugh hearing in 2018 for his eventual confirmation to the US Supreme Court. I bet you remember it. Remember Christine Blasey Ford, with her last-minute, vague accusations of sexual abuse, followed by Kavanaugh’s “angry” response? And Senator Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) weak, flaccid acquiesce to an extra week of FBI investigations, despite a clear lack of evidence of any wrongdoing, at the prodding of the well-disguised, deep partisanship of his colleague, Chris Coons (D-DE), who was clearly committed to destroying Kavanaugh’s nomination, along with his reputation? I’ll confess to being somewhat radicalized by it.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron Leads

 

Kentucky Attorney General CameronCriminal law is not designed to respond to every sorrow and grief. 

—Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is the right leader in the right place at the right time. He stepped up and spoke before the people of Kentucky and the world after the grand jury returned its findings in the shooting death of Breanna Taylor, a black woman working as an EMT, in her apartment during execution of a search warrant. There had been some actually protest and much rioting on the pretext of her death. I searched out AG Cameron’s full statement and a copy of the press conference video, original posted on Facebook. The original text is posted here in PDF form. Consider his words, consider the response of national media and politicians, then consider that two local police officers have already been shot in the context of “protests” that turned violent, as usual this year.

New Jersey Sheriff Sues the New Jersey Attorney General

 

We need to see more men like Sheriff Robert Nolan taking action against the injustice of creating sanctuary states. He’s suing the New Jersey AG, who’s defying federal law in order to turn New Jersey into a sanctuary state, and Nolan wants no part of it. So Sheriff Nolan and Cape May County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders are suing in federal court to challenge their AG’s directive, barring Nolan and his officers from cooperating with ICE.

The actions of Attorney General Grewel are blatantly political. He’s using worn-out rhetoric and misleading his constituents. He points out that the law enforcement officers are supposed to enforce state criminal offenses, and the federal government is supposed to handle immigration violations. And his stated concern is insulting to the intelligence of his own officers:

Although state, county, and local law enforcement officers should assist federal immigration authorities when required to do so by law, they should also be mindful that providing assistance above and beyond those requirements threatens to blur the distinctions between state and federal actors and between federal immigration law and state criminal law. It also risks undermining the trust we have built with the public. (italics are mine)

Sessions Should Amend His Recusal

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Photo credit: Mark Reinstein / Shutterstock.com

Trump critics are right: The attorney general and deputy attorney general are not the President’s personal lawyers. However, this fact does not relieve them of the duty to comply with federal law. According to Andy McCarthy, there is an off-ramp to the whole Trump-Sessions public humiliation show. It’s pretty simple, Trump can simply instruct the AG to amend his recusal so that it conforms to the letter of the law. According to the Special Counsel law (excerpted below), a special counsel will be appointed if there is a criminal investigation. The current investigation is a counter-intelligence investigation, which, according to McCarthy, by law cannot have a crime as its focus.

The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and — (a) That investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and (b) That under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.

Arizona AG 7, Freedom from Religion Foundation 0

 

Packer-PopeThe head of an Arizona agency visited France a few months ago, and offered to take employees’ “special intentions” on his visit to the Catholic holy site of Lourdes. Department of Economic Security Director Tim Jeffries’ email noted that he is a member of the Order of Malta, which is focused on “global works for the poor and the sick” and asked employees to reply with their intentions if they were comfortable doing so.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (headquarted in Madison, WI, because of course they are) was deeply offended by the director’s kind offer and declared it a violation of the First Amendment (PDF).

It is unconstitutional to use DES staff and resources to promote your personal religious views. We request that you immediately cease promoting religion through DES email and do not involve DES employees in any future religious trips you take.

Farewell, Mr. Holder

 

The nation can wave goodbye to Attorney General Holder with relief, as to a bad houseguest who almost burned down the house during his unwelcome stay. His political missteps were legion, and his choices on law enforcement policy revealed a stunning combination of ideology and incompetence. He called for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al Qaeda leaders in downtown New York City, for example, which showed a failure to understand our war on terrorism. He accused Americans of being a nation of cowards on race while dropping prosecutions of voter intimidation in Philadelphia. He made a terrible error of judgment on sending guns that ended up in Mexico and then made the mistake of stonewalling Congress’s effort to investigate — leading to the unprecedented citation for contempt of a sitting Attorney General. 

But worst of all was not Holder’s political or prosecution choices, but his refusal to obey the Constitution. The AG is the nation’s law enforcement officer, second only to the President. His most important and unique job is to interpret and enforce the Constitution for the executive branch. On Holder’s watch, the Obama administration has refused to carry out the laws, as required by the Constitution’s Take Care Clause, in areas ranging from Obamacare to immigration to welfare. The only exception to the President’s duty to carry out the Acts of Congress is if the laws themselves are unconstitutional and hence violate the higher law. But in all of these cases, the Obama administration knew that these laws raised no constitutional problems — it merely disagreed with the policies, even with laws that it supported during enactment.  Obama and Holder created for themselves a second, absolute veto on Acts of Congress.