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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Partners in Crime: Media Matters and DOJ

July 25th, 2012 - 1:44 pm

Some months ago, PJ Media submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Justice. The request asked for all of the communications between the Office of Public Affairs and the Soros-funded Media Matters about Katie Pavlich’s must-read book Fast and Furious.  The Office of Public Affairs is headed by the notorious screamer Tracy Schmaler.

Anyone who has followed the Fast and Furious scandal closely knows that the Office of Public Affairs has been central to deceiving the public and bullying inquisitive reporters.  Thug tactics unbecoming of the Department of Justice have become standard at the Office of Public Affairs.

Despite the fact that PJ Media’s original request was clearly identified as directed to the Office of Public Affairs, the DOJ routed the request to the Civil Rights Division, which on its face has absolutely nothing to do with the request.  That’s called buying time.

Finally, DOJ has at last responded to PJ Media’s request, sort of.  The response letter says that precisely a single document exists responsive to our request.

A single document?

PJ Media had to sue DOJ to pry documents from them before.  It seems they haven’t learned the lesson.

So let’s examine that single document.

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The Eric Holder Justice Department has done it again, this time in Pennsylvania.  Not content to use Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to shake down Texas and South Carolina, the DOJ yesterday sent a demand to the Keystone State for stacks of documents regarding Pennsylvania voter ID.

This letter was a highly irregular and purely partisan exercise designed to stoke Obama’s electoral base in Philadelphia. It is also designed to placate the civil rights industry, which has quietly simmered about the lack of enforcement of the Voting Rights Act to help minorities over the last three years.  (See, Wade Henderson – Cat Got Your Tongue?)

The demand letter to Pennsylvania was sent pursuant to 42 U.S.C 1974. This law requires election officials to preserve election records for 22 months after an election. It is designed to ensure that no racial discrimination occurred in the conduct of a particular election.  For example, poll books from 1966 would have to be kept for 22 months to ensure that both black and white voters who were properly registered were actually allowed to vote.

Like so much with this Justice Department, the partisans have perverted the law and demanded far more than the law allows, so much so that even liberal former DOJ lawyers are surprised.

Note that Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez signed the letter.  Normally, when I worked on cases involving 42 U.S.C. 1974, either the trial lawyer or section chief would sign the letter.  It may be that Chris Herren, the current section chief, would do neither what the career partisans below him wanted nor what the political gangsters above him wanted.  Internal dissent may be afoot, and with good reason.

The letter also demands that Pennsylvania turn over information far beyond what Section 1974 envisions. The letter reads like a discovery request in litigation, which of course it is — it’s just that the litigation hasn’t started yet.  In fact, it is almost impossible for DOJ lawyers to write a “J-Memo” without Pennsylvania’s cooperation. That’s another way of saying Pennsylvania is most likely to be sued only if they cooperate with the demand letter.

Expect DOJ to do something against Pennsylvania in the fall to really pump the political bellows, even if it is simply a notice of intent to sue.

Assistant Attorney General Perez should have to answer to Congress this week about any coordination between the DOJ and the ACLU regarding the latter’s lawsuit against Pennsylvania.  The letter reads like an ACLU wish list in their lawsuit.

The letter seeks all voter records, lists of people who don’t have ID, and internal studies which probably don’t exist exactly like DOJ suspects.  The letter even brazenly goes after Governor Tom Corbett’s press shop, demanding documents supporting his press release!

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Mark Levin Is Right on Romney Tax Returns

July 17th, 2012 - 8:30 pm

Mark Levin is defending Mitt Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns, and he’s right for a couple of reasons.  First, if Obama had been entirely transparent (read: college transcripts and Fast and Furious, to name two), then Romney should play by the same rules.  But Obama’s murky academic past remains murky, and his administration’s lack of transparency has been astounding.

Second, if Romney releases his tax records, they will be descended upon by a pack of hyenas disguised as CPAs and a mischief of rats disguised as political consultants.  The benign will be presented as malignant by liars.  The cost of enabling liars is higher than the cost of the status quo.

Third, and perhaps most of all, Romney should resist release to prove he knows how to fight like his enemies do, not like his friends don’t.  Savor this gem: “In all likelihood, he won’t be able to maintain a position that looks secretive and is a departure from campaign conventions.”

Really?  Says who? The New York Times?  The Chattering Class?  Perhaps Peggy Noonan?

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Texas Voter ID Clown Show Ends Today

July 12th, 2012 - 11:10 pm

The Texas voter ID trial wraps up today with closing arguments in a D.C. federal courtroom.  The trial featured bizarre and absurd testimony.  I believe Texas is bound to lose this case because the statutory language is stacked against the state.  But celebrations at the DOJ and in civil rights groups may be short-lived.  Texas voter ID might die, but after the clown show this week put on by the DOJ’s witnesses, the short-term victory over Texas might take the life of Section 5 when it gets to the Supreme Court.

In addition to seeking approval of voter ID, Texas is also challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  That challenge will be heard later.  Section 5 requires sixteen states to submit all election changes for preclearance.  Actually the number is more like 15 because DOJ has given New Hampshire a Granite State Free Ride, essentially ignoring the state’s obligation to comply with the law.

Shelby County, Alabama, is making a facial challenge to the statute, but after this week, the Texas challenge looks to pack a wilder punch.

Consider this: After DOJ wins the voter ID case against Texas, Section 5 will reach the Supreme Court in a case that featured Department of Justice testimony that Governor Rick Perry’s administration is infested with fascists and white supremacists.  This evidence was presented by DOJ to support a finding of racially discriminatory intent.

The craziest part is that the DOJ lawyers trying the case probably believe it.

The clown show saw another DOJ expert, paid thousands of dollars by you, the taxpayer, opine that vast numbers of Texans do not have photo identification.  On that list were President George Bush, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Phil Gramm.  These days that’s called an epic fail.

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.

Then another DOJ expert kept the clown show rolling along when he relied on a list of voters “disenfranchised” because they didn’t have voter ID.  On that list was a white man named Rodney Ellis.  Except there was one problem: state Senator Rodney Ellis testified from the stand he has a driver’s license.  Oh, there was another problem with the DOJ expert list – Ellis is also black.

This is the quality of data being used to scare minorities into thinking millions of people will be disenfranchised in November through voter ID.

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This is too much.  The Justice Department actually called a witness in the Texas Voter ID trial today in Washington, D.C.  The witness complained she couldn’t find the time to get her parents to drive her to get the free photo ID, but she obviously had time to fly to Washington, D.C., from Texas to testify at trial!

Henry Jackson writes at the Associated Press.

Victoria Rose Rodriguez, 18, told a federal court in Washington that she had limited documentation — a birth certificate, a high school transcript and a student ID card with a photo on it — but is currently a registered voter in Texas. She said her parents are too busy to take her or her twin sister to get the new voter identification cards required by the law.

Naturally, Henry Jackson doesn’t seem to note this obvious laugher, that Rodriguez has parents too busy to get the ID, but can hop a plane in San Antonio and spend at least a day in Washington, D.C., and then ride back home.  In fact, Jackson (and the rest of press) simply laps up the government’s stories without question.

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Texas Voter ID on Life Support

July 10th, 2012 - 3:35 pm

Numerous knowledgeable courtroom observers sitting in on the Voter ID trial in Washington tell me that Texas Voter ID appears to be doomed.  Four things are working against Texas.

First, it appears that each side has rushed their cases, and both sides seem ill-prepared.  This hurts Texas more than it hurts DOJ because Section 5 contains a burden shift.  The burden shift requires Texas to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it has a clean soul — that there was absolutely zero discriminatory intent, and zero discriminatory statistical effect, in passing voter ID.  That is really tough to do on an accelerated schedule.  The battle over statistics has become a “mess,” according to one of the judges.

The Justice Department has cited a study by Harvard University Professor Stephen Ansolabehere that found the Texas law would force nearly 2 million people to get new photo IDs or be unable to vote in the next election.

A disproportionately large number of those voters are Hispanic and black, the department said.

Texas presented a study by University of Texas Professor Thomas Sager that showed the total figure was closer to 167,000 and that the Harvard study inflated the effect on minorities.

Justice Department lawyers attacked Sager’s findings, noting that he added 6 million people to the list of Texans with proper IDs even though their licenses were expired or they didn’t have proper ID at all.

This is bad news if accurate.  If the Texas expert admitted that the effect on minorities was merely “inflated,” game over.  If there is any discriminatory effect on minorities, Texas likely loses under the law.  But worst of all, the fog about the real numbers may kill Texas.

Why?  Because Texas has the burden of proof.

Second, the biggest thing working against Texas is the burden shift and the 2006 Voting Rights Act reauthorization.  The reauthorization required states to prove an absolute absence of any discriminatory intent or effect.  “Any” was added in 2006.  If, for example, blacks have photo ID statistically in lower numbers than whites, that is a discriminatory effect.  I’ve posted the roll call vote for the 2006 reauthorization before. Suffice to say very few Republicans voted against it.  Among those who did were Steve King (Iowa), Trent Franks (Arizona), and Louie Gohmert (Texas).

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Eric Holder Visits Alternate Universe

July 10th, 2012 - 12:33 pm

Eric Holder visited an alternate universe today in Houston, also known as the NAACP convention.  From Politico:

The [NAACP] resolution also called Holder one of the best attorneys general ever.

At one point during his address, an audience member shouted out, “We love you,” to which Holder responded, “I love you back!”

As he left the stage, he was sent off with racous [sic] applause, a standing ovation and chants of “Holder! Holder! Holder!

Meanwhile, a majority of Americans support Holder being found in contempt of Congress.

Some websites consider Richard Henry Lee a president of the United States. In fact, Lee was president of the Continental Congress and actually made the motion in Congress to declare independence from Great Britain.  In other words, he was the man willing to literally stick his neck out in a body still unconvinced that open rebellion was prudent.

Lee signed the Declaration of Independence and was eventually elected a senator from Virginia.

Yesterday, on July 4, I visited the odd and charming grave of Lee, tucked away in a Westmoreland County, Virginia, cornfield.  It isn’t easy to find. Nevertheless, I wasn’t the only visitor.  Others had left wreaths and notes of thanks. A dirt road travels through the middle of a cornfield, a field that used to comprise his family estate Burnt Fields.  Suddenly the corn gives way to a small circle with the Lee family plot enclosed by a brick wall.

Richard Henry Lee grave July 4, 2012.

Lee was a Southern gentleman farmer, which to people like Chris Rock means slaveholder. Of course wiser Americans know the principles in the Declaration were so transcendent that even though it might take two centuries to fully realize, the authors of that document were revolutionaries both philosophically and politically. The human experience is now better because of those men, for blacks and whites alike.

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I was just on the Glen Beck show on GBTV and had occasion to note that Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion in the Obamacare case was familiar to me.  It turns out that Roberts adopted a similar activist rewriting of the parties’ arguments in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Holder

Most people just call it the “MUD” case, but it provides some clarity about what happened last week in the Obamacare ruling.

In MUD, a small utility district in Texas was challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional. (Shelby County, Alabama, and Texas are currently doing the same thing).  Section 5 requires governments in 16 states, including the tiny MUD, to have every election related change approved in Washington under the Voting Rights Act.  If you move a polling place, Washington must approve.  If you change the method of election, Washington must approve.

The MUD sought to have the law declared unconstitutional.

Roberts, writing for the Court, avoided the question. Instead, Roberts used a sleight of hand in MUD that he did last week — he rewrote the parties’ arguments.  In MUD, Roberts held that the MUD was eligible to “bailout” of the statute.  I won’t detail the complicated bailout provisions here (you can read them yourself in the case I link to above), but suffice to say that nobody thought the MUD was entitled to bailout of Section 5 because the MUD did not qualify under the clear language of the statute.

DOJ didn’t think the MUD was able to bailout, and neither did the MUD.

But John Roberts did.  He rewrote the arguments, and the law, and thereby avoided the constitutional question of whether the Court would strike down the Voting Rights Act.  He declared the MUD fit for bailout in a way that none of the attorneys working on the case thought was plausible.

Roberts did include an admonition that Section 5 was constitutionally suspect.  But MUD was decided years ago and in the meantime, thousands of jurisdictions have spent millions of dollars complying with a statute that is probably unconstitutional that the cautious Roberts Court was unwilling to declare as such.

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