A caller to Mark Levin’s show on Monday had a fabulous idea about those body cameras that are becoming increasingly en vogue for law enforcement officials. The caller said the country’s chief law enforcement officer — The Great and Terrible Attorney General Eric Holder — should be required to wear a camera and have his activities monitored. Yes, he’s announced his resignation and all, but who knows what additional damage Holder can do to the Republic in the remaining 30 days of 2014 (or between now and the time the Senate confirms his replacement). J. Christian Adams wrote this about Holder when he announced his resignation:
Holder’s tenure represents the beginnings of a post-Constitutional era, where the chief law enforcement officer of the United States serves to dismantle legal traditions. Holder is the first attorney general to whom law seemed to be an option, a suggestion on the way to a progressive future. Most folks, and most lawyers, who didn’t devote daily attention to him might not have noticed the ground shifting during his tenure. But shift it did, and very deliberately.
Law, like liberty, is a tenuous thing. Failing to understand the sources of domestic tranquility, the sources of your relatively good life, usually also means failing to recognize the threats to that pleasant tranquility. Holder used his time at Justice to do things that corrode the rule of law. Law and liberty are precious things, and Holder did enormous damage to both.
In the wake of the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson and the aftermath, President Obama today called for $263 million to fund body cameras and other community policing initiatives across the nation, including $75 million specifically to purchase up to 50,000 of the cameras, which record police actions. Surely lawmakers can spring for one more camera to monitor the activities of Holder at the Department of Justice. If not, the cost of a single camera runs between $299-$899. I bet a creative GoFundMe campaign could raise that in an hour. Perhaps the campaign could even raise enough to buy a camera to monitor Valerie Jarrett’s activities, too. Don’t Americans deserve to know what that Dynamic Duo is up to behind closed doors?
A Department of Justice report earlier this year found that the deployment of body cameras enables law enforcement officials to “demonstrate transparency and openness in their interactions with members of the community.” President Transparency, who famously promised that he would require appointees who led Executive Branch departments “to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates,” should be all over this idea of recording the activities of his chief law enforcer. As the DOJ report noted, “When officers or members of the public break the law or behave badly, body-worn cameras can create a public record that allows the entire community to see what really happened.”
Shouldn’t the same standards apply to public officials like Holder? I know, I know, there are probably some pesky laws that prohibit recording DOJ officials, but as we’ve seen in recent months, the president can just wave his magic executive-order pen and delete those now, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, think of the potential ad revenue from a HolderCam — or a ValCam. Perhaps the revenues generated could be used to help the families of fallen police officers. Who could be against that?
If beat cops who put their lives on the line patrolling the streets of our most dangerous cities must be surveilled — because they can’t be trusted to do the right thing without a spy camera babysitting them — then certainly the attorney general, who has demonstrated by his actions that he shouldn’t be left alone with the Constitution, should also have a chaperone any time he is conducting the business of the American people.