February 18, 2011
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
JW’s New Client: Arizona State Legislature Seeks to Intervene in Federal Lawsuit to Defend AZ Immigration Law
As you no doubt recall, the Obama administration has sued the State of Arizona over its new get-tough illegal immigration law, S.B. 1070. Judicial Watch has been representing Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce in court against this shameless legal assault. And just last week we added a new client: The Arizona State Legislature.
On Friday, February 11, 2011, we filed a “Motion to Intervene” on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature in the Obama Justice Department lawsuit against the state of Arizona. Governor Jan Brewer paved the way for this intervention when she signed emergency legislation on February 7, 2011, authorizing the Arizona Legislature to retain counsel to help defend S.B. 1070.
Here’s a squib from our motion:
Under a newly enacted Arizona law, the Legislature has been authorized to defend S.B. 1070….Through this Motion, the Legislature now seeks permission to intervene as a defendant (joining the State of Arizona and Governor Brewer) for the purpose of defending its enactment, S.B. 1070, and the interests of the people of Arizona.
In the motion, the Legislature argued that it “has a paramount interest in seeing that [the law’s] enactment is upheld.”
In addition to the “Motion to Intervene,” Judicial Watch also filed a “Proposed Answer in Intervention” on behalf of the Arizona Legislature. The court filing counters the allegations proffered by the Obama Justice Department in its complaint challenging S.B. 1070. Among the Arizona Legislature’s key arguments:
- [The Arizona Legislature] has a right to protect its citizens.
- Arizona has a right to self defense under the Constitution, particularly when the federal government fails to protect it.
- [The Arizona Legislature] complied with all relevant federal, state and local laws, including the Arizona Constitution and the [U.S.] Constitution [in crafting S.B. 1070].
- SB 1070 is not preempted by federal law or the Constitution. SB 1070 does not conflict with federal law, does not constitute an improper regulation of immigration, and Congress has not fully occupied the field.
So how did all of this end up in court in the first place?
On April 23, 2010, Governor Brewer signed into law S.B. 1070. On July 6, 2010, the Obama Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging the law and requesting a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from being enforced. (As you may recall from the February 4, 2011, edition of the Weekly Update, Judicial Watch uncovered documents proving the Obama Justice Department worked hand-in-hand with the radical leftist ACLU to craft their respective legal strategies. More on that here.)
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On July 28, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton allowed some provisions of the law to be enforced while granting the Obama administration an injunction on other key provisions until the Court could determine whether or not these provisions are constitutional. The State of Arizona appealed Judge Bolton’s ruling which is now under review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
In our opinion, the Arizona State Legislature represents the people of Arizona and is right to defend S.B. 1070 against the Obama administration’s legal attack. The people of Arizona have suffered the effects of rampant illegal immigration for far too long.
The Obama administration has taken a dangerous and nonsensical approach to illegal immigration, failing to secure the borders while at the same time attacking Arizona for simply trying to enforce the law and protect its citizens. We look forward to standing with the Arizona State Legislature, Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams and the people of Arizona in defense of the rule of law.
JW considers this work on behalf of S.B. 1070 to be, perhaps, the most important litigation we’ve undertaken in our 17-year history. So much is at stake in this lawsuit. States across the country continue to struggle with the devastating consequences of illegal immigration. They’re looking to Arizona (and, I’m proud to say, your Judicial Watch) for guidance as to what they can do legally to protect themselves. The Obama administration, meanwhile, has fostered an air of lawlessness in response, enacting stealth amnesty, encouraging sanctuary cities to continue their illegal behavior, and then attacking states that try to enforce the law. Enough is enough.
Judicial Watch Finally Gets Hillarycare Docs…After 5-Year Legal Battle
After a five-year battle with two presidential administrations, Judicial Watch finally got notification of a large cache of documents at the Clinton Presidential Library related to Hillarycare. How large? Try 54,527 pages. Our investigators will review the documents and we will be sure to give you a heads up about any newsworthy finds.
But no matter what we find, this much I know: It should never have taken five years to obtain documents that were (a) 13-years-old at the time of our initial request and (b) were supremely relevant to the ongoing discussions regarding Obamacare.
We can speculate as to why the Bush administration would have refused to release the documents. Former President Bush demonstrated distaste for exposing the Clinton scandals from the get-go. Perhaps he feared retaliation by the Clinton smear machine. Or perhaps he simply wanted to move beyond the controversies of the past, as he publicly expressed. It was our experience that his administration was generally hostile to open records laws, which had the coincidental effect of helping protect him, the Clintons, and his father!
We can speculate as to why the Obama administration, the self-promoted “most transparent” administration in history, kept these documents secret until after Obamacare was signed into law. President Obama apparently wanted to avoid any comparisons between his healthcare reform initiative and that of the former First Lady, an unpopular boondoggle that nearly forced President Clinton from office. Oh, and he likely did not wish to embarrass his Secretary of State or Bill Clinton, a prolific influence peddler and money-man for the Democrats.
After all, the similarities between Hillarycare and Obamacare, both in terms of policy and in terms of execution, are many — which is not surprising, as both involve the socialist effort to have the government take over the health care industry.
Weekly Update readers may recall that back in July 2008, Judicial Watch did manage to force the release of some Clinton Presidential Library records related to Hillary Clinton’s healthcare campaign. (You can view them all here.) Certainly the Obama administration viewed the negative press coverage these documents earned as a threat to their drive for socialized medicine.
Check out the following excerpts from documents we uncovered and you’ll see what I mean.
A June 18, 1993, internal Memorandum entitled, “A Critique of Our Plan,” authored by someone with the initials “P.S.,” makes the startling admission that critics of Hillary’s health care reform plan were correct: “I can think of parallels in wartime, but I have trouble coming up with a precedent in our peacetime history for such broad and centralized control over a sector of the economy…Is the public really ready for this?… none of us knows whether we can make it work well or at all…” (Some guessed that the author of this memo is Paul Starr, who served as head of Hillary’s Health Care Task Force staff.)
Of course we now know President Obama took it a step further, sticking a provision into his law which mandates the American people must purchase healthcare insurance or be fined. This provision, which had no precedent in American history, was recently declared unconstitutional by a federal court in Florida and is headed for a showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court.
A “Confidential” May 26, 1993, Memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to Hillary Clinton entitled, “Health Care Reform Communications,” which criticizes the Task Force as a “secret cabal of Washington policy ‘wonks’” that has engaged in “choking off information” from the public regarding health care reform. The memorandum suggests that Hillary Clinton “use classic opposition research” to attack those who were excluded by the Clinton Administration from Task Force deliberations and to “expose lifestyles, tactics and motives of lobbyists” in order to deflect criticism. Senator Rockefeller also suggested news organizations “are anxious and willing to receive guidance [from the Clinton Administration] on how to time and shape their [news] coverage.”
Remember this promise by then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign? “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”
Well that didn’t happen. Instead, the president crafted his plan in secret with liberals in Congress and Big Labor, and then managed to shove it through Congress over the vociferous opposition of the American people, but with the approval of the liberal allies in the Establishment Media. And he has stonewalled every FOIA request filed by Judicial Watch related to his Obamacare plan.
A February 5, 1993, Draft Memorandum from Alexis Herman and Mike Lux detailing the Office of Public Liaison’s plan for the health care reform campaign. The memorandum notes the development of an “interest group data base” detailing whether organizations “support(ed) us in the election.” The database would also track personal information about interest group leaders, such as their home phone numbers, addresses, “biographies, analysis of credibility in the media, and known relationships with Congresspeople.”
Didn’t the Obama administration get into hot water not too long ago for turning campaign supporters into snitches, asking them to report “fishy” emails regarding Obamacare to a White House email address? The obvious intent was to establish an enemies list of conservative activists to target.
Of course these similarities are not all that surprising considering the fact that Obama’s Chief of Staff at the time was former Clinton hack Rahm Emanuel (a.k.a. Rhambo). The only difference is that President Obama was ultimately successful in his attempt to install socialized medicine, although the Supreme Court will have the final say.
Judicial Watch’s battle over these Hillarycare documents is an excellent case study on what we face every single day as we attempt to bring transparency to the inner workings of government. The Obama White House, in particular, has demonstrated a deep disrespect for open records laws. And it takes patience and persistence to break through the Obama gang’s stonewalls. But with your support, break them we will.
Homeland Security Reneges on Promise to Court to Release Illegal Alien Memo
Surprise, surprise. The Obama administration has broken yet another promise on transparency.
This time it involves a Homeland Security report detailing the agency’s investigation of an illegal alien who killed a Virginia nun in a drunk-driving accident in August 2010. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to obtain the report, which was scheduled to be released by January 18, 2011. (At least that’s what Homeland Security told Judicial Watch and a federal court.) However, the Obama administration now claims the report is in “draft” form and is therefore exempt from FOIA.
Here’s how all of this went down over the course of the last month.
On January 6, 2011, Judicial Watch received the following message in an email from the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) assigned to Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit:
I have discussed this matter with the agency and have been advised that the requested report/memorandum has been processed and will be disclosed subject to redaction of certain personal/privacy information under FOIA Exemptions 6/7C. The agency hopes to disclose the material by January 18, 2011. Accordingly, you will receive and have an opportunity to review the release during the requested 30-day extension period. We can then discuss what, if anything, remains of the case.
Anything vague about the phrase “will be disclosed”? We certainly didn’t think so.
Sure enough, in seeking court permission on January 13 to get more time to answer Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the agency likewise told the Court (The Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan) that “the report memorandum…has been promised and will be disclosed subject to redaction of certain personal privacy information.” Based on this representation, Judicial Watch did not oppose the request for more time. The Court, also relying on this representation that the report was set to be released in a week, granted the Obama administration’s request for more time.
However, following multiple attempts by Judicial Watch’s litigation team to obtain an update on the release of the report, Judicial Watch received the following email from the same Homeland Security AUSA on January 28: “The agency has advised of a delay in the release of the requested report…ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) clarifies that the current version of the report is still in draft form and that, while the final report will be released, Exemption 5 (deliberative process) will likely be asserted as to the draft report.” A subsequent email from Homeland Security noted that ICE “cannot provide a specific release date at this time” for the final report.
Then on February 11, 2011, Judicial Watch received a letter from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement FOIA officer Catrina M. Pavlik-Keenan confirming the fact that the report will not be released as promised: “After review of the draft document, I have determined that this draft document will be withheld in its entirety pursuant to Exemption 5 of the FOIA.”
Folks, this is just another example (albeit an especially egregious one) of the type of gamesmanship and lawlessness we face every day from the Obama administration. (See previous story.)
The Obama DHS seems anxious to cover up the ugly truth about Montano, a Bolivian national who entered the country illegally as a child, killed Sister Denise Mosier and critically injured two other nuns while driving drunk on August 1, 2010, in Prince William County, Virginia. He has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving.
But this is not the first time the illegal alien was in trouble with the law. Montano had been arrested on two prior drunk driving charges. He was placed in the custody of federal immigration officials in 2008 and was scheduled for deportation, but was released on his own recognizance pending a deportation hearing that never took place. (Montano appears to be just another illegal alien to benefit from the federal government’s “catch and release” program.)
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano blustered over the incident and ordered an investigation on August 2, 2010, to determine why Montano’s removal process took so long. However, Homeland Security initially refused to release the report documenting the results, prompting Judicial Watch to file its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on December 2, 2010. Homeland Security then agreed to release the report before reneging last week.
One can draw a conclusion — an almost inescapable one — that the final Homeland Security report on the illegal alien nun-killer contained damaging revelations. So now Obama appointees are scrubbing the report. As this report supposedly went to Secretary Napolitano, this scandal seems to go to the top. I think we have a cover-up in the making; which is why Judicial Watch will continue to fight aggressively in court for the immediate release of this report.
Until next week…
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