Previous Documents Contradict Sworn Testimony by Obama Official that Political Appointees Were Not Involved in Decision to Drop Voter Intimidation Lawsuit
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305
Although an injunction remains in place in the New Black Panther Party case…the filing of the motion for voluntary dismissal largely marked the end of the litigation. As such, the documents prepared subsequent to that event were not prepared in contemplation of litigation and are thus outside the scope of the work-product privilege.
Because the case had essentially ended on May 15, 2009, Judge Walton found that “it is difficult to see how” the 24 documents created after May 15, 2009, “were prepared or obtained because of the prospect of litigation, which is the testing question the Court must answer in evaluating the DOJ’s work-product claim.” Although Judge Walton found that the DOJ improperly withheld the 24 documents under the attorney work product doctrine, Judge Walton concluded that the documents were properly withheld under the deliberative process privilege, an entirely discretionary claim of exemption.Yet, Judge Walton also found that the DOJ failed to satisfy its burden of showing that the 24 documents may be withheld in their entirety. Under the deliberative process privilege, the DOJ may only withhold information that is “predecisional and deliberative.” Judge Walton explained:
As it stands now, the description of the DOJ’s segregation efforts is too general for the Court, and the plaintiff, to evaluate whether any factual material in these documents is ‘inextricably intertwined’ with the deliberative material and would thus permit the DOJ to withhold the documents in their entirety.
Therefore, Judge Walton provided the DOJ a second chance to satisfy its burden by submitting “a renewed motion for summary judgment accompanied by a declaration or other documentation that solely addresses the segregability issue.” If the DOJ fails to “provide adequate detail regarding why these documents cannot be segregated, the DOJ will be required to disclose the non-exempt portions to the plaintiff.”DOJ’s renewed motion for summary judgment is due September 30, 2011. Judge Walton hopes to rule by February 3, 2012.According to a Justice Department document previously produced to Judicial Watch, top political appointees at the DOJ were involved in the decision to dismiss its voting rights case against the New Black Panther Party, including Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, the third highest ranking official at the Obama Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder also received “an update on a planned course of action in the NBPP” from Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King, dated May 12, 2009, just three days before the case was dismissed, according to a Vaughn index uncovered by Judicial Watch. A Vaughn index describes documents being withheld from disclosure under FOIA and the basis for the withholdings.Previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, which include descriptions of internal DOJ email correspondence, directly contradict sworn testimony by Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, who testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that no political leadership was involved in the decision.“The Obama Justice Department is going to extraordinary lengths to make sure no more details emerge regarding the Black Panther scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We already know the Obama administration’s claim that political appointees were not involved in this decision is patently false. And now Justice Department officials continue to fight tooth and nail to stonewall the release of additional information. What else do they have to hide? This new court ruling means we may pry loose some additional information on this voter intimidation scandal.”
The latest move by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to legally challenge another state’s immigration control law indicates that, under Obama, the agency has become the lap dog of the leftwing civil rights group at the helm of the open borders movement.For the second time in a year the DOJ and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have apparently colluded to bring down a state measure passed to curb the devastating toll of illegal immigration. Last year Team DOJ-ACLU took on Arizona’s law, which makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally, bans “sanctuary city” policies and allows local police to inquire about suspects’ immigration status.Judicial Watch uncovered DOJ documents that show the agency worked hand-in-hand with the ACLU in mounting their respective legal challenges to Arizona’s measure. The ACLU has flexed its muscle in related matters as well. A few months ago Homeland Security officials followed an ACLU order to suspend the scheduled deportation of an illegal immigrant in Los Angeles who’s working with the group to nix a program (Secure Communities) that requires local authorities to check the fingerprints of arrestees against a federal database.This week the DOJ followed the ACLU’s footsteps in filing a lawsuit to block Alabama’s new immigration control law, which makes it a state crime to be an undocumented alien and also makes it illegal for them to work in the state. The measure also allows police to detain those suspected of being in the country illegally and makes it a crime to rent a house or apartment to an illegal alien.Though they were filed weeks apart, the ACLU and DOJ complaints contain incredibly similar wording and both issued like-minded press releases blasting Alabama’s law as unconstitutional and undermining the federal government’s exclusive immigration enforcement duties. The ACLU used more animated language in its press release, accusing Alabama of passing a “draconian anti-immigrant law” that sanctions “discriminatory and unconstitutional practices.”The DOJ accuses Alabama of crossing a constitutional line, asserting that the law will lead to “the harassment and detention of foreign visitors, legal immigrants and even U.S. citizens who may not be able to readily prove their lawful status.” The feds also claim that the measure will burden children by demanding that students prove their lawful presence, which in turn, will discourage parents from enrolling them in school.This appears to be part of a broad movement by the administration to protect illegal immigrants until it figures out a way to grant them amnesty. Last spring the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division, which is headed by a renowned illegal immigrant advocate, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, created a secret group to monitor laws passed by states and local municipalities to curb illegal immigration. The undercover body is known as the National Origin Working Group and it holds special workshops dedicated to monitoring “anti-immigrant laws.”
While Obama’s Justice Department dismissed a critical voter intimidation case against a radical black revolutionary group, it’s going after a pro life advocate the agency calls one of “the most vocal and aggressive anti-abortion protestors.”Ironically, the administration claims that the pro life advocate, a Maryland man named Richard Retta, intimidated and interfered with women seeking abortions in Washington D.C.-area clinics much like members of the New Black Panther Party did to white voters during the 2008 presidential election. The difference is that the Black Panthers, clad in military attire, used weapons, racial insults and profanity to deter voters.Judicial Watch obtained records that show political appointees at the DOJ ordered the Black Panther case dismissed after the administration colluded with leftwing groups. JW’s investigation also revealed that the official Obama appointed to head the DOJ’s civil rights division, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, lied under oath to cover up the Black Panther voter intimidation scandal.Now Perez is pursuing a pro lifer for violating a Clinton-era law (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act) that prohibits any sort of interference with a woman seeking an abortion. Retta physically obstructed a patient and volunteer escorts attempting to enter the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, according to a DOJ complaint filed a few days ago. He also “frequently walks very closely beside patients as they walk to the clinic” and he follows them into the street and oncoming traffic. Sometimes he yells at them, the feds claim.In announcing the lawsuit, Perez vowed to pursue similar cases, saying that “individuals who seek to obtain or provide reproductive health services have the right to do so without encountering hazardous physical obstructions.” If one unarmed guy is considered such a threat, then a barrier of big, muscular, armed men intimidating voters during a presidential election certainly merits attention from the agency charged with enforcing the law and defending the interests of the United States. Yet that case got dismissed.
Obama’s Department of Justice has ordered Colorado to protect the interests of “language minority populations” by strengthening a Court Interpreter Oversight Committee that assures immigrants who don’t speak English get free translators.The new DOJ mandate also applies to civil cases, which means that U.S. taxpayers will fund interpreting services for foreigners who may stand to make settlement money. Under the agreement, announced this week, the Colorado Judicial Department will also develop “state and local language access plans” that address “both oral interpretation and the translation of vital written documents.”A revitalized state Court Interpreter Oversight Committee will be expanded to include an attorney, prosecutor, public defender and an “advocate” representing the interests of the “language minority populations,” according to the DOJ’s order.Interpreters have always been provided in criminal cases and in civil cases in which litigants were indigent. The new DOJ accord mandates free access to “timely and competent language assistance” for all “limited English proficient individuals” in all cases. This won’t come cheap. Colorado’s court system already spends nearly $4 million on 25 full-time interpreters and 300 contractors who provide services in 75 different languages.The assistant attorney general that President Obama appointed to run the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division (Thomas Perez) says it’s essential because “justice cannot be served without access and effective communication.” Perez is a known open-borders advocate who served on the board of a controversial, taxpayer-funded day laborer center (Casa de Maryland) that assists illegal immigrants.Last year Perez lied to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to cover up that political leadership was involved in the dismissal of the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. Judicial Watch obtained recordsthat prove top political appointees were intimately involved in the decision to drop charges against the radical black revolutionary group for bullying voters with racial insults, profanity and weapons during the 2008 presidential election.A former Maryland Labor Secretary, Perez has made a number of controversial moves at the DOJ to protect illegal immigrants and minorities in general. Last fall he sued a public college system for discrimination because it requires job applicants to furnish proof of residency before getting hired and earlier this year he launched an initiative to eliminate written tests that discriminate against minorities in the workplace.
Did Obama Justice Department Protect Alleged Terrorist-Connected Omar Ahmad for Political Reasons?
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305
- The March 31, 2010 memorandum entitled “Declination of Prosecution of Omar Ahmad from
Attorney General David Kris to Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler.
- “Any and all communications, contacts, or correspondence between the Office of the Attorney General (AG), the Office of Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Office of the Associate Attorney General (Assoc. AG) and the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) or any CAIR groups concerning, regarding, or relating to the prosecution or declination of prosecution of Omar Ahmad.”
- “Any all communications, contacts, or correspondence between the Office of the AG, the Office of the DAG, or the Office of the Assoc. AG and the U.S. Congress concerning, regarding, or relating to the prosecution or declination of prosecution of Omar Ahmad”
- “Any and all communications, contacts, or correspondence between the office of the AG, the office of the DAG, or the office of the Assoc. AG and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas concerning, regarding, or relating to the prosecution or declination of prosecution of Omar Ahmad.”
On May 9, 2011, Judicial Watch also filed a similar request with the DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD) seeking access to contacts and correspondence between the NSD and CAIR, Congress, and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas regarding the decision not to prosecute. The time frame for these requests is January 20, 2009, to May 1, 2011.Both DOJ divisions have acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s request, and were required to respond by June 14 and June 13, 2011, respectively. However, to date, both have failed to produce responsive documents or indicate when a response is forthcoming.Omar Ahmad served as senior executive on the Palestine Committee, an umbrella organization of U.S.-based Hamas support groups. Moreover, according to sworn testimony by an FBI agent during the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which was convicted in 2008 of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas, Ahmad moderated a conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in October 1993, during which participants discussed ways to support Hamas.A ruling by U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis in the Holy Land Foundation lawsuit referenced the specific purpose of the Philadelphia meeting:
The Philadelphia conference essentially laid out the path that the Palestine Committee would take to accomplish its goal of supporting Hamas in the future. Wiretaps from the Philadelphia conference reflect that Ahmad participated…in a number of meetings related to the goals, strategies, and American perception of the Muslim Brotherhood. Topics discussed included redefining the perception of the suborganizations due to their work for the Palestinian cause, and the legal hurdles…faced when raising funds for Hamas and other Palestinian causes or when taking orders from overseas leaders.”
Judge Solis also declined an attempt by CAIR to remove the organization’s designation as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation lawsuit, ruling that the government “has produced ample evidence to establish the associations” of CAIR with Hamas.“The American people have a right to know why the Obama Justice Department decided against prosecuting a terrorist-connected Muslim extremist over the objections of federal investigators,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The case against Ahmad and CAIR is substantial. And given the politicization of the Justice Department under Eric Holder, it certainly appears that Justice officials dropped this case in order to appease radical Islamic groups. The pattern of this Justice Department is to stonewall even the most basic requests for information under the law. The cover-up and secrecy is, frankly, like nothing we’ve ever seen.”
The Department of Justice distorts figures to hide from Congress pervasive corruption in the nation’s immigration court system, which allows deportable aliens to evade hearings without consequences and more than 1 million removal orders to be ignored.Adding insult to injury, U.S. taxpayers finance the drove of appeals filed by illegal immigrants deported for criminal convictions and fraudulent marriages. From 2000 to 2007, Americans doled out $30 million for aliens’ court costs, according to a new report authored by a former immigration court judge (Mark H. Metcalf) in south Florida, considered a hotbed in the system.The veteran jurist says the nation’s immigration courts, which are operated by the DOJ, areruled by deception and disorder and are at the heart of a system that nurtures scandal. About 250 overwhelmed judges preside over hundreds of thousands of cases annually and rarely are their deportation orders enforced.Even after the 2001 terrorist attacks, 50% of all aliens who were free pending trial disappeared, according to figures provided in the judge’s report. Between 2005 and 2006 the number of aliens who failed to appear at their court hearing grew to 59%.The DOJ deceptively reported the figure as “only” 39% by combining aliens who were free pending trial with those in custody who were forced by authorities to appear in court. That allowed the so-called bail-jumpers to appear as a smaller part of a bigger overall figure.The agency also told Congress that immigration courts rule in favor of aliens only 20% of the time when in fact its 60% and that aliens appeal deportation orders in only 8% of cases when the figure is actually 98%. Many more examples are included in the judge’s report, which refers to the DOJ’s findings as a sham.“Accuracy, credibility, relevance, and timeliness elude this agency and the flow of believable statistics to the public,” it says. The judge suggests that Congress order its investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an in-depth probe.
DOJ’s Rejection of Exam Based on “Passing Rates by Race” is Illegal and Unconstitutional; Judicial Watch Files FOIA Lawsuit for Additional Records
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305
…we are appalled to learn that the DOJ has branded our tests as “invalid,” despite having been appraised openly in advance of our validation steps, methods, and resulting data, and despite having never raised a single concern over the process during the entire seven-month-period prior to the exam administration. [Page 372]…Only at this point, two months after the exams were given, has the DOJ made any assertion about the unfairness or impropriety of the selection exam, much less that the tests are not valid. This complete reversal and flip-flop of judgment contradicts DOJ’s position prior to test administration, i.e. that the test was valid. Given that the only new information introduced after test administration was test scores and passing rates by race, it is not a difficult leap to conclude that the DOJ’s decision to contradict their prior position is drive solely by test scores and passing rates by race…In fact, it is illegal and in direct violation of Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. [Page 374]…It is our opinion that throwing out the exam results will inevitably lead to less qualified candidates taking the place of qualified candidates. We therefore recommend that the DOJ concedes with the City’s decision to move forward with the exam results, selecting one of three available cutoffs that align with the minimum competency levels established by the validation study. [Page 375]
According to a report by Dayton’s ABC News affiliate on March 11, 2011, the ultimate compromise struck between the City of Dayton and the DOJ resulted in a lowering of test standards for Police Department candidates:
The Dayton Police Department is lowering its testing standards for recruits. It’s a move required by the U.S. Department of Justice after it says not enough African-Americans passed the exam. Dayton is in desperate need of officers to replace dozens of retirees. The hiring process was postponed for months because the D.O.J. rejected the original scores provided by the Dayton Civil Service Board, which administers the test.Under the previous requirements, candidates had to get a 66% on part one of the exam and a 72% on part two. The D.O.J. approved new scoring policy only requires potential police officers to get a 58% and a 63%. That’s the equivalent of an ‘F’ and a ‘D’.
On June 29, 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that city officials in New Haven, Connecticut violated the rights of white firefighters when they discarded the results of a promotions test because minority firefighters performed poorly on the test. “The city rejected the test results solely because the higher scoring candidates were white,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. (Ricci et al.. v. DeStefano et. al., (No. 07–1428)).“One would be hard pressed to find a more egregious example of the unlawful application of race-based quotas,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents show the City of Dayton bent over backwards to accommodate the Justice Department’s ridiculous demands. But the Justice Department did not care a whit about the testing process; they cared only about the results and race quotas. Now the Justice Department has attempted to cut standards and game the system to give critical first responder jobs to less qualified candidates. This puts the public safety at risk. And, as is typical, this Justice Department can’t be bothered to comply with basic FOIA law and tell the American people exactly what it is up to.”
Judicial Watch Also Files Amicus Curiae Brief with California Supreme Court: California Citizens Have a Right to Defend Proposition 8, which states “only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305