The House’s entire legal team would like, first and foremost, to express its gratitude and respect for Judge Rosemary Collyer in issuing this historic and profound decision. The opinion is attached below.
After months of refusing demands to turn over her personal email server, Hillary Clinton has agreed to do so. The server will be turned over to the Justice Department as part of the investigation into her use of a private email account as Secretary of State. It was also disclosed that at least two emails on the unsecured server were classified “Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information” — one of the government’s highest classifications. Some of the information is reportedly linked to NSA/satellite intelligence and the Inspector General says that there was material that was classified at the time it was sent over the unsecured server.
The Obama Administration has been accused by public interest groups of being one of the most hostile administration toward whistleblowers since the Nixon Administration. Not only whistleblowers but reporters have been subject to abusive investigations and crackdowns under President Obama. Now, that record has taken an even more dangerous turn. The Justice Department is facing bipartisan criticism after it moved to restrict access of inspectors general to documents needed to ferret out corrupt and abusive practices. The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has issued a controversial 68-page memo that says that the department’s inspector general would be required to get permission from the agencies it is investigating to obtain wire taps, grand jury testimonies, and credit information.
Despite the determination of investigators at the State Department and intelligence agencies that Hillary Clinton did use her personal email system to handle confirmed classified information (and potentially compromised “hundreds of classified emails”), Clinton dismissed such allegations and assured the public that it is “pretty clear” that there was no classified information on her personal email system — a system that she used rather than the secure State Department system.
Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark has caused a stir with an interview with MSNBC in which he appeared to call for the establishment of World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” Clark used the infamous American internment camps for Japanese, German, and Italian Americans as a model: “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”
The Justice Department has lost a major case where it sought to bar efforts to determine if a convicted rapist is in fact innocent. The Obama Administration argued in United States v. Watson that Bill Watson should not be able to use a new DNA test that was not available when he was convicted of a rape in 2006. Despite dozens of cases where convicted individuals were proven innocent, the Obama Administration fought to prevent the use of this test even though the Innocence Project offered to shoulder all of the costs. The position of the Justice Department was inimical to the values of due process and the rule of law, in my view. The United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit rejected the highly technical claims that neither Watson nor the court should knew the true identity of source of key evidence found at the crime scene.
The Redskins lost a major challenge this week to the cancellation of the their trademark protection by the Patent and Trademark Office. I have previously written about my disagreement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decision to rescind federal trademark protections for the Redskins as a racially disparaging name as well as the underlying law used to strip the team of its trademark protection. The law allows for a small administrative office to effectively dictate the outcome of a long simmering societal debate over the team name. More importantly, the standard for determining what names or words are disparaging remains dangerously undefined with striking contradictions as we have previously discussed in permitted and disallowed trademarks.