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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”

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Washington, DC — May 17, 2011
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on April 29 against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) to obtain records related to the DOJ’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). On May 2, 2011, Judicial Watch separately filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court for the State of California supporting the right of California citizens to defend Proposition 8 when elected officials fail to do so. Proposition 8 states that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” (Case No. S189476).
Regarding JW’s FOIA lawsuit, on February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement announcing that the Obama DOJ would not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the DOMA, which defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of a man and a woman, in two recently-filed cases: Pederson v. Office of Personnel Management and Windsor v. United States. Attorney General Holder also announced the DOJ would not defend DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples in any other pending or future litigation.In response, between February 24 and March 1, 2011, Judicial Watch filed two FOIA requests with the Office of Information Policy, a component of the DOJ, as well as a separate FOIA with Justice’s Referral Unit seeking internal DOJ communications related to the DOMA decision as well as correspondence between DOJ and members of Congress, the White House, and outside entities.
Outside entities include liberal special interest group, such as The American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom to Marry, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, Moveon.org, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Service Employees International Union.The Office of Information Policy and the Referral Unit both acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s FOIA requests but have failed to respond to these requests within statutory allotted time frame. In fact, the DOJ has failed to release any records or indicate when a response is forthcoming, prompting Judicial Watch’s lawsuit.According to a recent article in Politico, entitled, “Gay donors fuel President Obama’s 2012 campaign,” one reason for the Obama administration’s support of same-sex marriage might have to do with campaign fundraising: “President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign is banking on gay donors to make up the cash it’s losing from other groups of wealthy supporters who have been alienated and disappointed by elements of Obama’s first term.”
With respect to Judicial Watch’s amicus curiae brief filed with the California Supreme Court, Judicial Watch maintains the official proponents of Proposition 8, have the right to defend the constitutionality of the provision in court, particularly when elected officials refuse to do so: “At stake in this case is the ability of California’s public officials to thwart the will of the people of California, as expressed through the initiative process, by failing to defend an initiative in court when it is challenged,” Judicial Watch explained in its brief. “If this Court finds that the proponents of an initiative have no such recourse when elected officials fail to defend an initiative in court, California’s political officials will be given a clear opening to abuse the powers entrusted to them by the people of California in a manner that is not transparent and not accountable.”
On August 4, 2010, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Proposition 8 violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. On August 16, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the judgment stayed pending an appeal. Former Governor Schwarzenegger and current Governor Brown have both refused to defend Proposition 8 in court, prompting proponents of the initiative to seek to intervene as defendants (Kristin M. Perry, et al. v. Edmund G. Brown as Governor, etc. et al.). These proponents include: Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J. Knight, Martin F. Gutierrez, Mark A. Jansson, and ProtectMarriage.com. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has now asked the California Supreme Court to decide whether Prop 8 proponents are permitted to defend the law before proceeding with the appeal.
“The institution of marriage is under vicious attack not only by President Obama and the Holder Justice Department, but also by liberal politicians and activist courts at the state level,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “When liberals lose at the ballot box they ask liberal judges to bail them out. The citizens of California spoke loudly and clearly on Election Day 2008 and now they deserve to have a voice in court. Even worse, these radicals have seemingly convinced President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to do their part by refusing to defend the federal marriage law. Judicial Watch took these strong actions in court not only to help defend traditional marriage but to uphold the rule of law that is under assault in California from the Governor’s Mansion and Washington DC from the White House.”

The Obama Justice Department has created a secret group within the bloated civil rights division to monitor laws passed by states and local municipalities to control illegal immigration.Because the measures are viewed as discriminatory and anti-immigrant by the administration, the Justice Department is spending valuable taxpayer dollars to track them and legally challenge them as it did in Arizona. The mission is being carried out by an undercover “National Origin Working Group” set up by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, a renowned illegal immigrant advocate who once ran a taxpayer-funded day laborer center inMaryland.This week the “National Origin Working Group” will hold a special training session at the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters. Perez, who lied under oath to cover up the Black Panther voter intimidation scandal, will headline the workshop to discuss the division’s “monitoring of anti-immigrant laws,” according to inside information obtained by a Justice Department whistleblower. Laws prohibiting national origin discrimination will also be addressed at the powwow and so will discrimination against Muslims in the ever-so-hostile, post 9/11 era.The most “transparent” administration in history doesn’t want the public to know about this special taskforce so Americans must depend on leaked information. In this case, a special thanks to J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department lawyer who worked on the Black Panther case and denounced the “corrupt nature of the dismissal” by Obama political appointees.Adams has exposed the administration’s racial double standard in which DOJ attorneys are instructed to ignore cases that involve black defendants and white victims.A career DOJ attorney, Adams resigned over the administration’s handling of the voter intimidation case against members of the radical black revolutionary group known as the New Black Panther Party. Clad in military fatigues and armed with batons, Black Panther thugs were captured on video bullying voters in Philadelphia during the 2008 presidential election. Career government attorneys determined that they should be prosecuted, but were ordered to drop the complaint by Obama political appointees.Those same officials are masterminding this campaign against measures to curb illegal immigration. Adams points out that no law empowers the federal government to monitor this imaginary, anti-immigrant legislative movement. That’s why the administration is doing it “behind closed doors, in secret, where nobody is paying attention.”

With a military officer from a terrorist-sponsoring nation and a washed out journalist as key witnesses, the Obama Justice Department has suffered an embarrassing defeat after dedicating infinite resources to prosecute an elderly CIA operative who fought communism.The 83-year-old, Luis Posada Carriles, once worked to destabilize communist governments throughout Latin America and the Obama Administration was determined to convict him for something. So the Justice Department mounted quite a performance during a 13-week trial inEl Paso Texas, flying in a lieutenant colonel from Cuba, which for years has appeared on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist-sponsoring nations, to testify against him.The government’s other star witness was a notoriously leftwing author, Ann Louise Bardach, who once worked for the New York Times and has written several favorable books about Cuba’s oppressive communist regime. Bardach testified that more than a decade agoCarriles bragged about his anti-Castro militancy, which supposedly included organizing bombings in Havana to scare tourists and blowing up a jetliner in the 1970s.Frail and somewhat decrepit, Carriles had been charged by the feds with nearly a dozen counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and immigration fraud. The case was such a stretch that jurors took about three hours to acquit him after hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses over several months. One media report said federal prosecutors sat “dejectedly”upon hearing the verdict after “painstakingly” building their case by calling 23 witnesses.Another news story said the short deliberations surprised many as did the across-the-board acquittals. Though jurors left without commenting, defense attorneys suggested their quick verdict indicated that they felt the government framed Carriles and exaggerated the evidence. The Cuban government quickly denounced the acquittal as a “farce” and “mafia justice.”The bottom line for U.S. taxpayers is that the Obama Administration dedicated endless resources to this case only to get its rear kicked in a big way. The big question is why? One blog dedicated to covering Cuban issues sarcastically wrote that Obama’s Department of Justice is considering charging Luis Posada Carriles with jaywalking. Maybe it’s not a joke.

“It is no coincidence that this stunning reversal comes on the day that President Obama announced his reelection campaign. We are grateful that the opposition of the American people beat back the ‘terrorist lobby’ in the Obama administration to keep the KSM trial in Gitmo, where it belongs.”

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Washington, DC — April 4, 2011

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today regarding the Obama Justice Department’s stunning reversal that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be tried by a military commission and not by a civil court in New York City, as the Obama administration had originally planned.

“It is no coincidence that this stunning reversal comes on the day that President Obama announced his reelection campaign. We are grateful that the opposition of the American people beat back the ‘terrorist lobby’ in the Obama administration to keep the KSM trial in Gitmo, where it belongs. The mishandling of the KSM trial is another blow to Attorney General Eric Holder, who should have been replaced long ago. Mr. Holder has demonstrated that he is incapable of providing the leadership necessary for the fair and competent administration of justice at DOJ.“KSM long ago pled guilty to the charges initially brought against him in military commission proceedings. That he still walks the face of the Earth highlights the moral and strategic failure of the Obama administration’s approach to the terrorist detention issue. We hope this political decision will begin to undo the damage done to our nation’s security by the Obama administration’s ideological attack on Gitmo.”

Regarding the military tribunal system, Judicial Watch Litigation Director Paul Orfanedes visited Guantanamo Bay in 2008 by invitation to monitor military commission proceedings against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other top 9/11 conspirators. Judicial Watch’s presence provided some balance to the ACLU and other radical groups advocating for the terrorist detainees. Following his visit to Guantanamo Bay, Mr. Orfanedes said he witnessed a “deep commitment” to justice on the part of military lawyers.Judicial Watch has been sharply critical of the Obama administration’s mishandling of the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed decision and the administration’s expressed intent to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Judicial Watch has also battled the Obama administration to obtain documents that would shed light on the threat of terrorism and the administration’s response.For example, Judicial Watch recently obtained documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) detailing the significant risks of releasing “enemy combatants” detained at Guantanamo Bay. Judicial Watch also obtained documents from the Obama DOD detailing a deliberate campaign by al-Qaida and other extremist groups to recruit juveniles and launch terrorist attacks against children. The records consist of two Joint Task Force Intelligence Information Reports from debriefs of detainees at the U.S. terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.In 2009, Judicial Watch released a CIA report entitled, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source on Al Qa’ida, which documented the information gained by interrogations of Mohammed: “KSM’s decade-long career as a terrorist, during which he met with a broad range of Islamic extremists from around the world, has made him a key source of information on numerous al-Qaida operatives and other mujahidin. He has provided intelligence that has led directly to the capture of operatives or fleshed out our understanding of the activities of important detainees, which in turn assisted in the debriefings of these individuals.” This document was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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Washington, DC — March 29, 2011Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced it will host a panel discussion: “Politics and the Holder Justice Department: Rule of Law at Risk?” Panelists include Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation; Debra Burlingame, Co-Founder of Keep America Safe; and Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.The panel will address concerns about politicization and ideology at the Holder Justice Department as it relates to civil rights enforcement, national security and terrorism, and the refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.The panel will also be streamed live, and a recorded copy of will be available soon afterward.

  • Date: Thursday, March 31
  • Time: 11 AM – 12:30 PM ET
  • *Location: Main Conference Room
    Judicial Watch
    425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
    Washington, DC 20024

Confirmed Panelists:

Hans von Spakovsky
Senior Legal Fellow
The Heritage FoundationAustin Nimocks
Senior Legal Counsel
Alliance Defense FundDebra Burlingame
Board Member of World Trade Center Memorial Foundation
Co-Founder of Keep America Safe

Moderator:

Tom Fitton
President
Judicial WatchThe event is free of charge and open to the press and the public. A mult box will be available.*(Across from NASA headquarters, near the Southwest Federal Center Metro station; click for map and directions)

“Who is running the Justice Department?”

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Washington, DC — March 24, 2011Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it filed a lawsuit on March 9, 2011, against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) to obtain records detailing contacts between DOJ and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) over a voter intimidation lawsuit filed against the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (Case No. 11-500)). Kristen Clark, a representative of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, reportedly met with representatives from DOJ to discuss the lawsuit just prior to DOJ’s decision to drop the case.On November 2, 2010, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the following information:

Any and all records of communication between the Civil Rights Division and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense Fund (including, but not limited to communications with Kristen Clarke, Director of Political Participation) concerning, regarding or relating to U.S. v. New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, et al. (09-CV-0065). The time frame for this request is November 4, 2008 to May 22, 2009.

By law, DOJ was required to respond to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request by December 3, 2010. However, to date, no documents have been produced. In fact, DOJ has failed to respond to Judicial Watch’s request in any manner.The issue at the center of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit is whether or not the NAACP improperly influenced the DOJ, an independent law enforcement agency, to drop a lawsuit against members of the Black Panthers who allegedly threatened and intimidated white voters outside a polling station during the 2008 election.

A DOJ official testified that the NAACP lobbied against using civil rights statutes to protect anyone who is not considered a traditional minority, a position that reportedly found favor inside the Justice Department.According to the October 22, 2010, edition of The Washington Post: “Interviews and government documents reviewed by The Washington Post show that the [New Black Panther Party] case tapped into deep divisions within the Justice Department that persist today over whether the agency should focus on protecting historically oppressed minorities or enforce laws without regard to race.”This conclusion is consistent with testimony by another DOJ attorney, Christopher Coates, who testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which conducted a year-long investigation of the New Black Panther Party scandal, that there exists at the DOJ “a deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of whites who have been discriminated against.”“Who is running the Justice Department? That is what we’re trying to find out with this lawsuit. I find it outrageous that leftist special interest groups seem to be directing the activities of the nation’s top law enforcement agency,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“The Obama Justice Department has made a mess of the Black Panther lawsuit.We already know the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case was tainted by politics and racism. There is something amiss in the Holder Justice Department. And its casual violations of the freedom of information law highlight this administration’s contempt for transparency and the rule of law.”The DOJ filed its lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and three of its members following an incident that took place outside of a Philadelphia polling station on November 4, 2008. A video of the incident, showing a member of the New Black Panther Party brandishing a police-style baton weapon, was widely distributed on the Internet. According to multiple witnesses, members of the New Black Panther Party blocked access to polling stations, harassed voters and hurled racial epithets. Nonetheless, DOJ ultimately overruled the recommendations of its own staff and dismissed the majority of its charges.This latest FOIA lawsuit is part of Judicial Watch’s comprehensive investigation of the New Black Panther Party scandal. Judicial Watch previously uncovered evidence that top political appointees at DOJ were intimately involved in the decision to dismiss the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. The documents 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.On Thursday, March 31, Judicial will host a panel discussion at its Washington, DC, headquarters to discuss the New Black Panther Party litigation and other scandals that have plagued the Holder Justice Department. The panel is titled, “Politics and the Holder Justice Department: Rule of Law at Risk?”

The Obama appointee who lied under oath to cover up the Black Panther scandal and sued public colleges for requiring job applicants to prove legal residency announced the administration’s commitment to eliminating tests that discriminate against minorities in the workplace.Known as “disparate impact,” the racial discrimination created by written exams is especially rampant in the nation’s police and fire departments, according to Thomas Perez, the Assistant Attorney General Obama appointed to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division. That’s because the tests disproportionately screen out people of a particular race, even though they “present the appearance of objective, merit-based selection.”Not only is this discriminatory, Perez said in a written statement this month, employers sell themselves short when they exclude potential workers in this manner. As an example the former Maryland Labor Secretary, who has long fought for the rights of illegal immigrants, said that members of a baseball team should not be chosen by testing their knowledge of baseball history and statistics.Perez did acknowledge that “we have made great progress in breaking down barriers to equal opportunity,” but assures that “discrimination undeniably persists, in overt and subtle forms.” He guarantees that the Justice Department will continue to “combat such discrimination so that our nation can fulfill its greatest promise of equal opportunity and equal justice for all.”Touching words from a public servant who lied in sworn testimony to cover up a scandal for his boss and who has spent taxpayer resources to prevent states from enforcing immigration laws. Last fall Perez sued an Arizona public college system for discrimination because it requires job applicants to furnish proof of residency before getting hired. This is discriminatory because it treats authorized workers differently during the hiring process based on their citizenship status, according to Perez.Perez also told the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that no political leadership was involved in the decision to drop a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party, even though a federal prosecutor who worked on the case blew the whistle on the racial bias inside the Justice Department that led to the “corrupt nature of the dismissal.” Judicial Watch obtained records that 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.Perez has a few other skeletons in his closet that caused the Senate to delay his confirmation to head a key area of the Justice Department. He served on the board of a controversial, taxpayer-funded day laborer center (Casa de Maryland) that helps illegal immigrants by operating employment facilities and offering free legal services and has ties to Venezuela’s America-bashing leader Hugo Chavez. The socialist strongman, a close ally of State Department terrorist nations like Iran, North Koreaand Cuba, donated $1.5 million to Casa de Maryland under Perez’s tenure.

Should Justice Kagan Recuse Herself if Obamacare Reaches Supreme Court?

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Washington, DC — March 3, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) to obtain documents detailing Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s participation in discussions related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of March 23, 2010, also known as Obamacare, while she served as U.S. Solicitor General (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (Case No. 11-426)). The constitutionality of the “individual mandate” in President Obama’s health care reform may end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Through its FOIA request, filed on June 19, 2010, Judicial Watch seeks the following information:

All records of communication, briefing materials and/or legal opinions concerning the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of March 23, 2010.Any and all records of communications between the Office of Solicitor General and any of the following entities concerning the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: (a) The Executive Office of the President; (b) The Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel; and (c) The Office of Attorney General. 

As Judicial Watch notes in its lawsuit, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “is one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in U.S. history. It has already been the subject of much litigation, and the constitutionality of the Act will likely be decided by the United States Supreme Court within the next two years.” On January 31, 2011, federal Judge Roger Vinson ruled Obamacare unconstitutional in a consolidated lawsuit that involved 26 states challenging the law due to the requirement that all Americans must purchase health insurance.The AP reported in “Sen. Hatch: Kagan Should Sit Out Health Care Case” that while serving in her previous capacity as U.S. Solicitor General, Justice Kagan may have been involved in discussions related to Obamacare, including the anticipated legal challenges to the law. Justice Kagan has already admitted she “attended at least one meeting where the existence of the litigation” was mentioned. Senator Orrin Hatch, noting the conflict of interest, has called upon Justice Kagan to recuse herself when the law ultimately reaches the nation’s High Court.Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on June 18, 2010. The DOJ acknowledged receipt of the request on July 8, 2010. However, to date, the DOJ has failed to release any documents or demonstrate why documents must be withheld. The DOJ has not indicated when responsive documents may be forthcoming.“U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare may be some of the most important in the nation’s history. With so much at stake, this is no time for gamesmanship and secrecy by the Obama Justice Department. This is a simple question and the American people deserve a straight answer: What role did Elena Kagan play in Obamacare discussions while she was at the Justice Department? The Justice Department’s silence is deafening,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Leftists are running a coordinated campaign to pressure Justice Thomas to recuse himself from any Obamacare cases. That there are no facts warranting such a recusal is no bar to the left-wing effort to politicize the High Court to protect Obamacare. So it is ironic that the only set of facts that might warrant a recusal in the matter relates to Justice Kagan and is being unlawfully withheld by the Obama administration that appointed her.”

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