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Judicial Watch Statement on Supreme Court Refusal to Take up Challenge to Obama Secrecy on bin Laden Images


(Washington, DC)Judicial Watch issued a statement today regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to take up a challenge to the Obama administration’s keeping secret post mortem images of Osama bin Laden and his burial at sea.


Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said:


With the seeming endorsement of the judiciary, Barack Obama has rewritten the Freedom of Information Act at the expense of the American people’s right to know what its government is up to.  The idea that the “most transparent administration in history” would put the sensibilities of terrorists above the rule of law ought to concern every American.  What other laws that terrorists don’t like might be subject to unilateral change by Obama?  Obama’s appeasement places our fundamental rights and accountable government at risk.  


Judicial Watch had filed a certiorari petition with the Supreme Court of the United States to review a 2013 Appeals Court ruling against the Judicial Watch lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dept. of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency (No. 12-5137)). The suit sought to force the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to release more than 50 photographs and video recordings of Osama bin Laden taken during and after the U.S. raid upon the terrorist leader’s compound in Pakistan on May 1, 2011.


Judicial Watch’s petition had asked the Supreme Court to “reverse this disturbing reversal,” and mandate the courts to “conduct meaningful review” and warned that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will “continue as less of a disclosure than a “withholding statute.” 



(Washington, DC)Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement today in response to today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, upholding a key provision of SB 1070, Arizona’s illegal immigration enforcement law, allowing police officers to check the immigration status of individuals they arrest or stop for questioning whom they suspect are in the U.S. illegally.

On April 11, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction against enforcement of some of the law’s provisions per the request of the Obama administration, prompting the State of Arizona to petition the High Court (State of Arizona et al., v. The United States of America).

Judicial Watch had previously defended the law on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature.  Most recently it filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, and a separate brief on behalf of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI).  The amicus brief on behalf of SLLI was joined by 29 legislators from 20 states. In both briefs, Judicial Watch argued that SB 1070 utilizes the state of Arizona’s well-established police powers and therefore is not preempted by federal law as the Obama administration maintains. Judicial Watch asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling placing key provisions of SB 1070 on hold.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated:

This is a victory for the safety and security of Arizona and the nation.  The Supreme Court held that local police can to help enforce immigration law by inquiring about immigration status.  This sensible application of the law confirms that local law enforcement can use an additional tool to protect public safety.  We can expect dozens of states to enact laws further empowering the police as Arizona did.  The Obama administration should now focus on enforcing immigration laws rather than thwarting them.

It appears that the Obama Administration is once again utilizing the Department of Justice (DOJ) as a political tool, this time to challenge voter identification laws—like one already upheld by the Supreme Court—that Democrats claim discriminate against minorities.

As the presidential election nears and Obama’s poll numbers plummet, who can blame party loyals for taking measures to get their boss reelected? After all, under this far-fetched discrimination theory a chunk of citizens that would normally vote Democrat couldn’t cast ballots because they can’t prove their identity.

That’s because they are either too poor or too ignorant to get a valid identification—provided free in many of the states that have passed voter ID laws—that proves they are who they say they are. This unbelievable theory has gained momentum in the last few months, with the powerful chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz) calling ID laws a “full-scale assault” on minority voters designed to “rig” elections for Republicans.

Eight states have strict laws that require a voter to provide picture identification in order to cast a ballot. All but two of the states—Georgia and Indiana—passed their measures this year and the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division has vowed to ensure that they don’t have a racially discriminatory purpose or effect. Targets of the DOJ’s discrimination probe are Kansas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Mississippi.

Reiterating the administration’s “commitment to robust civil rights enforcement,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez confirmed last week that DOJ lawyers are reviewing some of the recently-enacted state laws to ensure that they are not racially discriminatory. “We have received numerous inquiries about recently enacted state laws relating to voter identification requirements, voter registration requirements and changes to early voting procedures,” Perez said, adding that “we are carefully reviewing these laws.”

In 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, ruling that the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters. “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the nation’s highest court said in its decision.

The ruling makes the DOJ’s aggressive intervention all the more questionable, like some of its other politically-motivated actions. Earlier this year Judicial Watch obtained internal government records that show political appointees at the DOJ ordered a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party dismissed. Clad in military attire and armed with weapons, members of the radical group intimidated white voters with racial insults and profanity during the 2008 presidential election and were scheduled to be prosecuted.

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