Rule of Law

Rule of Law

Indians and ‘Idiots’: DOJ Attacks State Power Over Elections

June 4th, 2015 - 8:52 am

The Obama Justice Department has quietly launched an effort to erode traditional state powers over elections.

In the first instance, Attorney General Loretta Lynch has drafted and sent a bill to Congress which would force state election officials to turn over power to tribal governments to determine the location and number of polling places on Indian reservations in state-run elections.

In the second instance, the DOJ is seeking to erode the power of states to prohibit the mentally incompetent from voting, as long as they express a desire to vote to their caregiver, often a unionized government worker.

In both instances, the Justice Department is acting at the behest of activist groups and undermining powers the Constitution gives to the states.

Given the election results of the last twenty years, it might be surprising to learn that the California constitution says that “no idiot or insane” person shall be entitled to vote. Understand that “idiot” is a legal term used to denote someone who is literally incompetent or incoherent. Other states use the term “imbecile” or the more modern, ‘incompetent.”

While the terms may be anachronisms, the reasons behind the prohibition on voting are as valid today as they were in 1849. Allowing someone who is not competent or aware to vote corrupts elections — and invites the patient to be victimized by someone effectively stealing that patient’s vote.

Under the Qualifications Clause of the Constitution, states are vested with the total power to determine who is eligible to vote, subject to bans on racial discrimination in the 15th Amendment, gender discrimination in the 19th Amendment, payment of poll taxes in the 24th Amendment, or the 18-year-old vote in the 26th Amendment.

The Obama Justice Department, however, has launched an effort against California to erode powers under the Qualifications Clause, claiming that practices disqualifying the incompetent might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Civil Rights Division has told California it is opening an investigation into how it decides who is incompetent and thus disqualified to vote. The focus of the investigation is on the Los Angeles Superior Court, the entity which decrees incompetence and then often appoints public guardians to oversee the care of those deemed incompetent to take care of themselves and to vote.

The form used by the court touches on whether the patient has dementia, is in a “state of lethargy” or “stupor,” is able to concentrate, recognize familiar faces, is “nonsensical,” “incoherent,” or has hallucinations.

The Disability and Abuse Project sparked the Justice Department action. The project is a function of a Spectrum Institute and the American Association for Single People (AASP), an organization which aggressively opposes the value of marriage and boasts a board member who is an “advanced practitioner in ‘Thought Field Therapy,’” to some, a discredited New Age pseudoscience. The Spectrum Institute/AASP enjoys tax exempt 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.


Though it informed the Spectrum Institute about the action it was taking in California, the DOJ never informed the public. The Justice Department action also comes just in time to bolster support for California Senate Bill 589, which would give those deemed incompetent and put into a conservatorship the right to vote, as long as they express a “desire to participate in the voting process.”

In Los Angeles County, members of public sector unions and the purple-shirted SEIU are responsible for the care of many for whom the Superior Court has appointed a conservator.

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I was on the Kelly File last night discussing the Department of Justice’s action against the Cleveland Police Department.  The video:

“DOJ should have to prove these cases in court.  These agreements make cops spend time doing reports, cops have to go to sensitivity training taught by people contracted by the DOJ. . . .  Places where the DOJ has done this like Los Angeles has resulted in more crime, more lawlessness more mayhem.  But that doesn’t matter to the ideological bureaucrats who are pushing these actions.  They care about an anti-police agenda more than they care about safe streets.  This is part of a broader effort to make cops beholden to Washington D.C. instead of good policing on the streets.

Don’t forget the people who are doing these DOJ reports believe that cops are guilty until proven innocent. A few racists emails does not violate federal law.  Cops are allowed to be racist and as bad as that is it doesn’t violate federal law.  It requires a pattern or practice, which means an ongoing continuing thing.  And the people who write these reports at DOJ have biases against police officers.”



The Justice Department yesterday announced a simultaneous lawsuit and settlement with the Cleveland police department.  The settlement will impose significant federal mandates on the police.  This comes after a Cleveland police officer was acquitted of wrongdoing by a court after the officer shot a suspect at the conclusion of a 100 mph car chase.

The agreement imposes a ten-member “community police commission” who will watch over the police, only three of whom have any law enforcement perspective.  The remaining seven are sure to include individuals either actively involved in the racialist anti-police efforts or one degree of separation from the same.  The agreement imposes a federal monitor, a person likely to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in this role.  The police will have to undergo “bias free policing principle” training.  The Obama Justice Department uses an outfit funded by George Soros and affiliated with former Black Panther (and still communist) Angela Davis to train police about bias.  Any time a Cleveland police officer unholsters his or her weapon, a report must be filed with the federal monitor.

In Los Angeles, a similar DOJ enforcement scheme led crime to spike and police officers to refuse to work on gang units.

Some will say that the Cleveland police department has a pattern or practice of excessive force. After all, a Justice Department report said so!

When Justice Department reports are used to support Justice Department lawsuits it’s important and very relevant to learn the radical backgrounds of the lawyers writing the reports and pushing the lawsuits.  PJ Media has already conducted an extensive investigation into the radical backgrounds of the Justice Department lawyers hired by the Obama administration’s Civil Rights Division.

These radical ideologies of Washington D.C. Justice Department lawyers result in ideologically driven law enforcement.  When lawyers believe the police are part of a racist structure, questionable enforcement actions by those lawyers will result

Worst of all, Cleveland didn’t even make the Justice Department prove their case.  They just rolled over and died.  When targets don’t fight back and force the Justice Department to prove their case in court, the federalist balance of power suffers.  Local governments are supposed to run their own police departments, no matter what the Obama administration wishes the Constitution says to the contrary.

So let’s meet the lawyers who brought the case against Cleveland resulting in federal oversight of the police department.  Excerpts from the PJ Media expose of the Special Litigation Section that brought the case against Cleveland.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta is a former ACLU lawyer.  She most famously said that the Baltimore riots were caused by slavery and Jim Crow laws.  Enough said.



Jack Morse: Mr. Morse comes to the Civil Rights Division straight out of law school, during which time he interned for the ACLU of Georgia’s National Security/Immigrant Rights Project and for the Georgia Innocence Project. He also helped draft reports for the ACLU suggesting that the “287(g) program” (which allows local law enforcement to participate in enforcement of federal immigration laws) contributes to racial profiling and should be eliminated. Anyone still confused by Mr. Morse’s views might peruse his law review article in which he argues that the federal government may not legitimately classify material support of terrorism as a war crime (!) and that the U.S. thus improperly tried Salim Hamdan (OBL’s driver) by military commission. …. It’s nice to know that there are so many advocates of Guantanamo Bay terrorists in the Special Litigation Section.

Rashida Ogletree: The daughter of Obama pal and Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, Ms. Ogletree joined the Section after working as a staff attorney at the District of Columbia Public Defender’s Office. Before that, she had interned at the Legal Action Center, which describes itself as “the only non-profit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas.” She also participated in the Brennan Center for Public Policy Advocacy Clinic, where she worked on efforts to give voting rights to convicted felons. Leaving no activist stone unturned, she preceded those activities with internships at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and the EEOC, as well as a gig as the Education and Enforcement Coordinator for the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston. And to top it all off, she served as an editor of the “progressive” Review of Law and Social Change at NYU Law School.

Judy Preston was a long time Justice Department employee and is characterized by former DOJ officials as “one of the biggest bleeding hearts” in the entire Division.

Emily Gunston: Ms. Gunston arrived at Justice after working for nearly 10 years as a public defender in Contra Costa County, California. While a law student at Berkeley, she also interned at the Homeless Action Center, a group dedicated to agitating for government entitlement payments.

Naturally nobody on the DOJ has any experience outside of the leftist civil rights echo chamber.  Naturally nobody has any experience in law enforcement.  After all, that doesn’t matter.  What matters is ideological leftists with high-paying jobs in Washington D.C. telling local police departments who to listen to and how to behave.







Jeb Bush’s Hot Tub Time Machine

May 27th, 2015 - 8:25 am

“Is there some kind of retro thing going on?”

– Jacob in Hot Tub Time Machine

Jeb Bush is a candidate stuck in the Republican politics of two decades ago. He seems unaware of the fundamental transformations occurring all around him. It’s Hot Tub Time Machine in the 2016 presidential race.

Consider his latest gaffe posing as outreach — that Republicans should campaign for votes “in the Latino barrios.”

For the unfamiliar, “barrio” is a Spanish term technically meaning neighborhood, but more accurately referring to run-down neighborhoods populated with a mix of Hispanic citizens and aliens, many in the United States illegally.

Republicans should spend money chasing votes in the barrio — if they want to lose. Bush betrays a fundamental ignorance of the changes brought by data-driven campaigning and fueled by empirical racial polarization. He sees the world as it existed in 1995, not as it is now.

The next Republican who wins the White House will win not because they went seeking votes in the barrio, but because they got the votes of blue-collar Reagan Democrats as well as evangelicals. Those two groups delivered victories to Bush’s brother as well as Ronald Reagan. Blue-collar Democrats are turned off by identity politics of the sort Bush advocates.  And no matter how much time and money and energy Bush might waste in the barrio, he’ll never get votes there.

Politics is a game of emotion, culture and power relationships. On all three, Republicans lose in the barrio, and always will.

Bush must not know about Catalist and how the left used data-driven race politics to drive turnout in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. His ignorance might be forgiven, as this new model of campaigning came into existence only after Bush ran his last campaign. When Bush last ran, winning independents determined who won. In 2015, whoever mobilizes their base wins.

Obama won the White House, twice, by using data analytics to allow him to preach to his own choir and ignore the middle. Bush, like a retro-candidate, ridicules “preaching to the choir.”

Today, the left uses deep cultural currents to stoke the emotions of voters. The left uses big data to micro-target base turnout. No lofty rational appeal by candidate Bush visiting the barrio will penetrate this edifice.

Bush should go to a stock car race in Brooklyn or union hall in Allentown before he goes to the barrio. And if you’re a Bush supporter who is perplexed to learn NASCAR races in New York City, you’ve proved my point.

In Brooklyn and Allentown, Bush won’t find much sympathy for his amnesty policies, and that’s the design flaw that will ultimately doom the Bush candidacy. The people Bush needs to win the White House — blue-collar Reagan Democrats — are opposed to Bush’s core brand.

But Bush’s problems go beyond obsolete tactics and unpopular messages, they also include a fundamental failure to understand the modern Left.

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Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, has told a lawyers group in Colorado that slavery and Jim Crow helped fuel the Ferguson and Baltimore riots.

The last few days have seen a number of fanciful stories with the Obama administration seemingly questioning the authority of local police. I’ve long maintained that the administration is nakedly seeking to federalize policing standards — but get rid of local police? No way, that sounds like something broadcast from a shortwave station in Austin, Texas.

But then up steps Vanita Gupta to lend some credibility to the idea that some want to disband local police and replace police powers with the federal government. Speaking to a group of left-wing lawyers in Colorado, Gupta had this to say:

The conversation in these rooms, however, is not about whether to have police or not but about what kind of policing communities want and deserve.

There is no question that we need police in our communities.

The conversation? What conversation is Gupta hearing that needs to be corrected?  Who brought up the idea we might not need police? Nobody sane, for sure.

Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta

If you read the entirety of Gupta’s speech, you’ll get a sense of what is going on in the mind of the anti-police left.   Officials in this administration still think it is rational and acceptable to bring up the name Michael Brown in the context of anything other than a likely felon against whom deadly force was justifiably used. Behold Gupta:

Eric Garner.  Michael Brown.  Tamir Rice.  John Crawford.  Walter Scott. Freddie Gray.

These names and many others have become familiar to us under tragic circumstances in recent months.  Their deaths and those of other unarmed African American men and women in encounters with police officers, have provoked widespread responses across the country and have fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. In communities of color, in particular, the reaction has been stark and sobering.

In the seven months I have been at the Civil Rights Division, I have spent a lot of time with local leaders and community members in cities all across America, including with numerous mothers who have lost their children in officer-involved shootings. The pain, anger, frustration — the lack of trust in the police — is real, and it is profound.

Gupta asks the question that many Americans have already asked and answered:

It’s worth asking, first, how did we get here? And second, what are we going to do about it?

To most law-abiding Americans, the idea of fleeing from the police, or worse, charging at a policeman you have already punched, is simply beyond the realm of possibility.

So how did we get here? Was it a breakdown of values? Perhaps a pervasive tolerance for lawlessness? Of course not.  Says Gupta:

Let’s start with the first question and consider the source of the mistrust. Mistrust can’t be explained away as the kneejerk reaction of the ill-informed or the hyperbolic. It’s in part the product of historical awareness about the role that police have played in enforcing and perpetuating (wait for it! here it comes!slavery, the Black Codes, lynchings and Jim Crow segregation.

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The Amtrak disaster in Philadelphia has reminded us of old lessons, and taught us things we didn’t know.

First the latter category.  At Amtrak, it’s possible to go from a cashier at Target to being the engineer driving a train 107 miles an hour.  I’ve known people afraid to fly who take Amtrak instead.  Maybe the decisions of 32-year old Engineer Brandon Bostian will spark a new perspective.

Before he was placed in command of a 700 ton train carrying nearly 300 people, Bostian was a cashier at Target.


Let’s compare Amtrak to an airline.  Usually, the pilot flying a plane carrying upwards of 300 people has spent years training on props, years on smaller jets with a few dozen passengers, and years in the right-hand seat of larger jets before being placed in control of so many lives.  Airlines are stacked with redundancy, even in the cockpit.

Some might scold – well a train is different, it is less complicated.  Perhaps, but we learned this week that a train really isn’t that different when it comes to the thin line between life and death.  Decisions up front matter.

Which leads to the question – why was this 32 year old roaring down the tracks at 107 miles per hour when the limit was 80, dropping to 50?  Was he texting, as is so common with his generation?  Was he simply making up for being late, as is so common at Amtrak?

Either way, I’ll take the greying captain of a A320 instead next time I go to New York.  Give me Chesly Sullenberger any day over Brandon Bostian.


An aside – some internet bottom feeders are making much of Bostian being a “gay activist.”  I’d imagine they think it somehow hurts other gay activists that one gay activist drove his train off the rails.  That’s the sort of petty irrelevancy you might find at the Democratic Underground or other frothing internet forum.

Let’s turn to the familiar.

Washington bureaucrats want to blame Congress for the Amtrak crash instead of the man in the cab going 107 mph.  Consider the paper of record in Philadelphia and the breathless headline – Official: Train-control system could have prevented crash [!!!!]. The story quotes NTSB member Robert Sumwalt as saying the crash could have been prevented if only Congress had spent hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sumwalt wants what is called “positive train control.”  Think of it as an idiot override.  If the engineer has a train roaring along at 107 mph but the speed limit is only 80, positive train control would slow the train.  The system would cost you, the taxpayer, hundreds of millions of dollars to install.

Welcome to America 2015.  Washington bureaucrats think the solution to bad decisions by 32 year old engineers is to stupid-proof Amtrak by installing robotic speed overrides for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here’s a better idea: put people in charge of trains who take seriously the responsibility they have been given.  Hire engineers who have earned their keep driving Christmas trains at a shopping mall, moved onto various other smaller and slower trains, and have shown the capacity to safeguard the lives of hundreds of passengers.  “Positive Train Control” can already be found in the cab of every Amtrak locomotive.  Federal dollars cannot compensate for human stupidity.


2008 seems so long ago. When running for president, then-Senator Obama held himself out as post-partisan and above the fray; calm, cool, and different. Americans bought in.

Obama’s “hope” and “change” campaign signaled a new direction, fresh ideas, and appealed to a new generation of voters. Young voters saw the perfect amalgam of a national leader: biracial, attractive, well-educated, and urban cool.  Black Americans looked up to him as a standard bearer, a hip yet erudite man of the world. His election was historic, as it signified to all Americans and the world that there are no racial barriers to achieving the American dream.

Many Americans, whether they voted for him or not, believed Obama when he said: “There is not a black America or a white America or a Latino America or an Asian America; there’s the United States of America.” When he gave that speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he was an instant national sensation.

Post-racial, unifying, uplifting, and all from a Harvard-educated, married black American. With his election, so many Americans thought that we were finally leaving behind the divisive racial politics of the past, the inflammatory demagoguery of Al Sharpton-type agitators and self-promoters, the evil of seeing race.

It all seems so long ago now.


After six years of this administration, we now know the real Barack Obama. President Obama could have finished the job of binding up this nation’s wounds. But this man was never about healing racial wounds. Instead, he used the office of the presidency to fan racial tensions and to exploit select, isolated incidents, all while pretending he is a uniter, not a divider.

Imagine how different race relations would be in this country today if, starting in January 2009, President Obama used his office to better the black community and race relations. What a difference this could have made in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, where racially motivated violence has set cities ablaze.

Imagine how things might be different if, rather than give the speech he actually gave, Obama had given the following speech at the NAACP National Convention in July of 2009:

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The Supreme Court has been asked to allow Kansas and Arizona to verify that only United States citizens are registering to vote in those states. (See PJ Tatler’s coverage here). Unfortunately, a single federal bureaucrat refused to allow the two states to weed out non-citizens trying to register to vote.

Meet Alice Miller, the acting executive director of the Election Assistance Commission.

Miller alone, from her inside-the-Beltway office, refused to amend the Kansas and Arizona version of a federal voter registration form to include state laws requiring proof of citizenship. Backed by a swarm of left-wing groups, Miller, by herself, made it easier for foreigners to vote in Kansas and Arizona.

miller a

You might wonder how a single federal bureaucrat could have so much power over how elections are run in Kansas and Arizona. Federal law, commonly known as Motor Voter, requires states to accept a form drawn up by the Election Assistance Commission to register voters in their state. But states can ask the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to revise the version for their state to include state qualification laws. In Kansas and Arizona, registrants must establish that they are citizens to be qualified to register. When Kansas and Arizona asked the EAC to print new forms with those state law requirements, Miller refused.

Kansas and Arizona sued, and a federal court ordered the EAC to reprint the forms. However, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and held that Miller had the power to deny Kansas and Arizona new forms.

The Supreme Court has been asked to take the case, a case which implicates both the integrity of American elections as well as the reach of federal bureaucrats.

Normally, the commissioners at the EAC decide what versions of a form the states can use, but the EAC lacked a quorum. Into this vacuum swept Miller.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation has filed an amicus brief for the American Civil Rights Union with the Supreme Court. The brief asks the Court to take the case and to restore the constitutional balance which Miller has disrupted.

Once source familiar with Miller’s power grab tells PJ Media:

There was no Executive Director at the EAC. She was a line staff member who was illegitimately thrust into an “acting” executive director role by a “line of succession” document written by the General Counsel, who was in the Acting Executive Director position when he wrote it. That line of succession policy was never voted on by the Commission. So, there are layers of illegitimacy here that Alice Miller and the Holder DOJ relied on for her authority to make a decision in this case. Adding state law updates to the form instructions should be a ministerial function of the EAC, just as it has been when performed by the FEC when it was assigned this function.

So who is Alice Miller?

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My appearance on Fox and Friends discussing this article at PJ Media:



President Obama’s amnesty by edict has always been about adding new Democrats to the voter rolls, and recent action by the Department of Homeland Security provides further proof. Sources at the Department of Homeland Security report to PJ Media that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is reallocating significant resources away from a computer system — the “Electronic Immigration System” — to sending letters to all 9,000,000 green card holders urging them to naturalize prior to the 2016 election.

This effort is part of the DHS “Task Force on New Americans.”

PJ Media has obtained an internal “Dear Colleague” letter written by Leon Rodriguez, the “director and co-chair of the Task Force on New Americans.”  The letter refers to a White House report called “Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents.”

Leon Rodriguez has a tainted history — not only was he a central player in the radicalization of Eric Holder’s Civil Rights Division, he also “undertook a purportedly illegal search” of a government employee’s computer in Montgomery County, Maryland.  (Messy details are at the Washington Post.)

The Rodriguez letter states:

This report outlines an immigrant integration plan that will advance our nation’s global competitiveness and ensure that the people who live in this country can fully participate in their communities.

“Full participation” is a term commonly used to include voting rights.  To that end, resources within DHS have been redirected toward pushing as many as aliens and non-citizens as possible to full citizenship status so they may “fully participate” in the 2016 presidential election.  For example, the internal DHS letter states one aim is to “strengthen existing pathways to naturalization and promote civic engagement.”

Leon Rodriguez

Leon Rodriguez

Naturalization plus mobilization is the explicit aim of the DHS “Task Force on New Americans.” Multiple sources at DHS confirm that political appointees are prioritizing naturalization ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Empirical voting patterns among immigrants from minority communities demonstrate that these new voters will overwhelmingly vote for Democrat candidates.  If the empirical rates of support for Democrats continued among these newly naturalized minority voters, Democrats could enjoy an electoral net benefit of millions of new voters in the 2016 presidential election.

Other DHS sources report that racial interest groups such as La Raza (translated to “The Race”) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association have been playing a central and influential role in rewriting the administration’s immigration policies — both the public policies as well as internal and largely unseen guidelines.

One DHS official who disagrees with the administration’s policies told me DHS “intends to ‘recapture’ ‘unused’ visas from years past to grant more visas and LPR [green card] status. In addition to this ‘visa blizzard,’ the agency will allow folks to jam in applications during the blizzard, knowing that the visa applicant/beneficiary is not eligible for the visa.”

This means that DHS is not only rushing green card holders toward citizenship before the next election, but also jamming previous visa holders toward green card status.  These policies and priorities add to the brazen public positions of the president toward enforcing immigration laws.