Roger’s Rules

Eric Holder Does Justice

Hilarious statement of the week:

“I will work to restore the credibility of a department badly shaken by allegations of improper political interference. Law enforcement decisions and personnel actions must be untainted by partisanship.”

That’s from Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States. He said that during his confirmation hearings and you could almost feel the floor vibrate with Marc Rich’s laughter. Remember Marc Rich: Andrew McCarthy was on the case as soon as Holder’s name bobbed to the surface as Obama’s choice to lead his post-racial, post-partisan (the laughs just keep coming) Department of Justice:

The Marc Rich pardon was one of the most disgraceful chapters in the history of the Justice Department. Not the modern history, the entire history. Rich was accused of mega-crimes: millions in fraud, tax-evasion, and trading with the America’s enemies. In 2000, he was a fugitive. He had been one for nearly two decades, during which the government had expended immense resources in a futile attempt to apprehend him.

Mind you, flitting from country to country to avoid prosecution, as Rich was doing, is itself a felony. When Eric Holder aided and abetted Rich’s pardon effort, he was not only grossly violating the Justice Department policy it was his job to uphold; he was dealing with the agents of someone who was actively committing a serious federal crime. That’s why, when prosecutors deal with a fugitive’s representatives, the appropriate question is: “When is he going to turn himself in?” It’s not, as Holder essentially asked, “What can I do to help?”

Well, that was back in November. Holder has been in office for six months now and — will wonders never cease? — it turns out that really, when not subjected to the glare of television cameras and Congressional scrutiny, Eric Holder is part of Team Obama’s effort to transform justice from the rule of law into the pursuit of “social justice,” i.e., an attack on the rule of law in the name of a left-wing political agenda.

The most recent example — at least, the most recent example that we know about — is the Justice Department’s breathtaking order to dismiss the charges against the New Black Panther party members (including one who wielded a nightstick) who had been charged with voter intimidation in Philadelphia during November’s election.

Did I say “voter intimidation”? Jennifer Rubin, in a must-read piece in The Weekly Standard, puts it better with a quote from Bartle Bull, a civil rights attorney: the Panthers had engaged in “the most blatant form of voter intimidation I have encountered in my life in political campaigns in many states, going back to the work I did in Mississippi in the 1960s.”


So what happened? Rubin provides chapter and verse:

The Justice Department initially claimed the “facts and law” did not support going forward in the case, although just weeks earlier a default filing had been supported. More letters followed from Smith and Wolf addressed to Holder and his underlings. In mid July, the Justice Department offered a series of thinly supported reasons for the dismissal. The case was dismissed because the Panthers’ Internet posts about deploying at polls did not mention bringing weapons, Justice claimed. Yet voter intimidation laws require no such specificity or the use of weapons. Then Justice claimed the New Black Panther organization did not control the individual defendants. But again, the facts — specifically an interview where the New Black Panther chairman boasts of such control — suggest otherwise. Next Justice suggested there was no case because the Black Panthers disavowed the defendants’ actions after the fact. Voluminous case law suggests that this defense is preposterous.

Bottom line? “One cannot read through the correspondence without concluding that Holder’s Justice Department is grasping at straws to defend a decision made for a purpose it wants to conceal.”

The Black Panther exoneration is deeply troubling. But Rubin’s piece shows that it is merely one of many examples of a Justice Department whose leaders are only too happy to jettison the rule of law for the sake of their political agenda.

Consider the case of Mary Smith, nominated to be assistant attorney general in the tax division: she has no experience in that specialized field but her bona fides as a Democratic poltical activist are impeccable. Or how about Jennifer Daskal? As Rubin reports, she’s a

former Human Rights Watch lawyer with no prosecutorial background but rather a record of aggressive advocacy on behalf of Guantánamo detainees (e.g., questioning the guilt of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, objecting to the incarceration of a 15-year-old who killed Marines). Her new job, remarkably enough, is on the Guantánamo task force that will make recommendations on detainee policy. She is now free to pursue her agenda from inside the Justice Department.

Then there is Dawn Johnson. She was nominated to head the Office of Legal Counsel. The nomination was controversial, Rubin notes, because of her

record of rabid criticism of the Bush administration, her extreme views on national security and abortion (she once wrote that limits on abortion would be tantamount to “slavery” under the Thirteenth Amendment), and her insistence that the Justice Department should pursue novel legal theories based on “economic justice.”

In other words, what we are seeing unfold in the Department of Justice is another facet of Obama’s spread-the-wealth-around, egalitarian, anti-American ideology. We just caught a glimpse of what that means with the Skip Gates/Sgt. Crowley case: the so-called post-racial presidency turned out to be the post-post-racial presidency. So it is at Justice: Eric Holder said that that he would run a Department of Justice “untainted by partisanship.” Turns out, though, that that was verbal watercress for the punters. Really, he’s part of the most politicized and left-wing administration in U.S. history. The question is: how long will the American people put up with it?