Judiciary Chairman Unleashes on Holder for ‘Partisan’ Ignorance of Constitution
With a scathing roll call of Eric Holder's sins, Lamar Smith paves the way for the attorney general's upcoming appearance before his committee.
April 30, 2012 - 12:10 pm
The report asserts that since the DoJ has not brought a single court action to block sanctuary city policies or tuition breaks for illegal immigrants, the choice to focus limited resources on strained, weaker arguments shows the department’s bias.
“The glaring inconsistency can best be explained by highly partisan decision making influencing which cases to pursue,” it says.
“The Justice Department claims to be acting to protect the interests of Congress, arguing that except in narrow circumstances only Congress can legislate immigration enforcement. In truth, the Department ignores Congress except when it can help the Administration achieve its partisan goals, in this case its fiercely anti-enforcement immigration agenda.”
Smith then goes after Holder & Co. for challenging voter ID laws, asserting that it’s due to partisan bias that the Justice Department puts taxpayer dollars to “waste” with its challenges.
“The Justice Department claims that in South Carolina minorities are 20 percent more likely than whites to lack photo ID,” the report states. “This sounds significant until you examine the original data. 90% of minorities have photo IDs compared with 91.6% of whites. The Department’s presentation is mathematically true (because 10% is technically 20 percent more than 8.4%) but it masks that in reality, the Department is battling over a difference of less than 2%.”
The report faults the DoJ for blocking congressional inquiries, including oversight requests — five from the Judiciary Committee alone since July 2011 — probing just how deep of a role Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan had in shaping ObamaCare before her appointment to the court.
The Justice Department has claimed that the Judiciary Committee — studying her background to ensure that federal law governing recusals is adequate — “has no legitimate legislative interest in the material,” according to the chairman’s report.
“The Administration’s lack of cooperation only heightens concerns that they have something to hide,” the report states. “Unfortunately, the Administration’s stonewalling of Congress could result in an unconstitutional law being upheld.”
Smith proceeds to take on the DoJ for refusing to stand behind the Defense of Marriage Act. Holder informed Congress on Feb. 23, 2011, that his department would no longer defend DOMA in court, arguing that it violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.
“The unprecedented nature of the Attorney General’s arguments and the evasion of accountability represented by continuing to enforce the law while not defending it combine to support the inference that the Administration’s stance is based on its partisan agenda rather than on a sincere analysis of the Constitution and, as such, the Administration’s non-defense of the Defense of Marriage Act is a usurpation of Congress’s legislative function,” the report states.
Finally, the chairman goes after Justice for turning a blind eye to constitutional limits of President Obama’s recess appointment power.
Obama sparked fury in Congress with three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and another to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Jan. 4. The Senate was not technically in recess at the time, but in pro forma sessions with no business to be conducted — which could be reversed if senators were asked to conduct any business — as agreed by both parties.
Smith linked the appointment to bad advice given to Obama by Justice Department counsel, who found that the President “has discretion to conclude that the Senate is unavailable to perform its advise-and-consent function and to exercise his power to make recess appointments.”
“The invocation by the President of the recess appointment power when the Senate was not in recess was an unconstitutional evasion of the Senate’s power of advice and consent,” the report said. “It encroached upon the Senate’s constitutional prerogatives and aggrandized power to the President.”
After a roll call of Justice Department sins, the chairman concludes that “the Constitution has not been guarded with care.”
“[Holder] promised that under his leadership, the Department of Justice would be free from partisanship,” Smith’s report states. “He testified that in his tenure ‘law enforcement decisions must be untainted by partisanship.’”
“The reality has been different from the promise.”