We have been discussing the extraordinary and public decision of President Barack Obama to withhold any information on his promised changes in immigration until after the election. While immigration remains one of the most important issues of this election, Obama officials have admitted to preparing for the changes while refusing to give any details or even summaries of what is being planned, as we discussed again yesterday. There has been surprisingly little hard reporting on the decision to withhold this information from voters until after they have voted. However, yesterday White House CBS reporter Major Garrett broke from the mainstream pack and pressed White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on a report that the Administration has order material for a “surge” of immigration IDs of up to 9 million in one year. Ernest called the questions “crazy” and encouraged everyone not to speculate . . . before the election obviously.
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There is a new release out of Judicial Watch, which has been meeting with success in its effort to defeat extreme privilege assertions by the Obama Administration in seeking records related to the infamous Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Administration has been repeatedly criticized for expansive claims of presidential power and privilege. I have been one of those critics. A federal court has expressed growing impatience and even anger with the Administration’s claims and obstruction — recently ordering production of evidence over the vehement objections of the Justice Department. However, nothing likely prepared them for what they claim is the privileges asserted on the “Vaughn index” produced by the Justice Department. The Administration is now reserving the claim of executive privilege over emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother. That’s right, executive privilege over communications with your family. It captures the lack of any sense of limitation or logic to the Obama Administration’s view of presidential power, which now overshadows the claims not just of George W. Bush but Richard Nixon.
We have previously discussed the public decision of President Obama to hold back from implementing his plan for immigration until after the election — and after voters can express their opposition at the voting places. Now, the Administration is not only public reaffirming that decision but insisting that (while they are preparing to implement the plan) they will also not tell anyone what they intend to do until after the elections. Those comments came from León Rodríguez, the new head of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) this week who tantalized an audience with the suggestion of sweeping but secret changes. It is extraordinary that politicians routinely get away with such positions. Millions are preparing to vote on the direction of the country, but one of the most important policies in this election is being openly hidden from them so that they cannot register their support or opposition.
Posted in Congress, Constitutional Law, Courts, Criminal law, Free Speech, Justice, Lawyering, Media, Politics, Society, Supreme Court, Uncategorized, tagged Americans for Prosperty, Crawford v. Marion County, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Judge Richard Posner, Koch Brothers, Ronald Reagan on 1, October 19, 2014 | 350 Comments »
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor
I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election. I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country. It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time. I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since. That includes both primary and general elections. There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.
It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote. Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots. After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past. It turns out I was wrong. Very wrong. (more…)
While President Barack Obama continues to assure the public that he is protecting privacy and the press, his Administration continues to do precisely the opposite in court with comprehensive attacks on civil liberties. A good example is the continued abuse of two-time Pulitzer prize winner and New York Times investigative reporter and author James Risen. Risen continues to be threatened by the Justice Department with arrest because he is protecting the identity of his sources. Risen spoke this weekend and observed simply that “Obama hates the press.”
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor
I have written in the past about our large financial institutions and their uncanny ability to break the law and escape any criminal penalties at the corporate or personal level. If the Department of Justice had actually indicted a Bank of America official and procured a criminal conviction, that Bank of America official could have assisted the corporate office in their no-bid contract to handle all of the federal prison systems inmate financial services and email services.
“A few blocks north, however, at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center, there exists a market that Bank of America has locked down, literally. For the 790 federal prisoners incarcerated at MCC, Bank of America controls the provision of money transfers, e-messaging and some telephone services.
The bank’s monopoly extends across the federal Bureau of Prisons system—121 institutions housing 214,365 inmates. Since 2000, Bank of America has collected at least $76.3 million for its work on the program.” Readersupportednews That would be $76.3 Million dollars in the Bank of America coffers without any need or worry about having to compete for this latest sweetheart deal. (more…)
Below is my column on the resignation of Eric Holder as United States Attorney General. For civil libertarians, Holder’s tenure as Attorney General under President Obama has been one of the most damaging periods in our history with a comprehensive attack on various constitutional rights and principles from free speech to the free press to international law. In recent polling by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, Holder was the second most unpopular government official after the positively radioactive Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
As someone who previously called for Holder’s firing after the investigation of various journalists under national security powers, I am hardly one who can offer congratulatory sentiments for such a record. However, much like President Obama, one has to wonder what could have been if Holder had chosen a more principled and less political approach to his office. Holder is resigning the same week that a federal judge ordered the release of “Fast and Furious” documents after the Justice Department was accused of a pattern of delay and obstruction. Holder was previously held in contempt by Congress for his withholding documents and conflicting accounts to an oversight committee looking into the scandal. Indeed, Holder was looking at an even more aggressive period with the possible loss of the Senate and increased GOP seats in the House.
Ironically, Holder came into office trying to distinguish himself from such disastrous predecessors as Alberto Gonzales but proved no less political or blindly loyal to his own president. Indeed, both men fought aggressively to expand the powers of the presidency and national security laws over countervailing individual rights and separation of powers principles. It will be civil liberties and not civil rights that will be the lasting, and troubling, legacy of Eric Holder. The column is below: