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September 11, 2009
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Obama “Green Jobs” Czar Van Jones Resigns
There is at least one less radical in the Obama White House now that “green jobs” czar Van Jones was forced to resign this week.
Here’s the story according to Fox News:
White House green jobs adviser Van Jones resigned in the middle of the Labor Day weekend following persistent controversy over his past remarks and associations.
Jones, who served as an adviser to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, had generated mounting criticism over the past week. He earlier issued back-to-back apologies — first, for calling Republicans [expletive deleted] during a videotaped address earlier in the year, and second for signing a petition in 2004 supporting the “9/11 truther” movement, which believes the Bush administration may have been involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The latter development, which came on top of several others, was perhaps the most devastating and led to calls for his resignation.
- Obama’s Radical Green Czar Ousted
- Senator Helps Mexicans Take Americans’ Jobs
- Illegal Alien Murderer Claims Discrimination
- ACORN Workers Arrested In Fla.
- Married Lawmaker Brags About Affair With Lobbyist
- Obama Issues 10 More Ethics Waivers To Hire Lobbyists
- Penn. Judges Indicted With Dozens Of Felonies
Obviously, anyone who would associate himself with the insane notion the Bush administration played a role in 9/11 has no business serving in the White House, any White House. (We took on this crowd early on when we obtained and released historic video documenting that an airliner hit the Pentagon on 9/11, not a missile or a drone as the Van Jones “truthers” had alleged.) But there is an even deeper issue at play here, and it relates to the seemingly unconstitutional scheme by the Obama administration to appoint “czars” in the White House without the consent of the U.S. Senate, as required by the U.S. Constitution.
Obama seems to have a czar for everything…the environment, Middle East peace, healthcare. (We even have a “manufacturing czar” now. On Monday, Obama appointed former United Auto Workers executive and current Treasury official Ron Bloom to preside over the automobile manufacturing industry.) Many of these advisors can wield a tremendous amount of power and influence with zero congressional oversight. And some of them hold leftist views well outside the mainstream. So for every Van Jones that resigns after the conservative media and Internet raise the alarm, others — such as science czar John Holdren and media diversity czar Mark Lloyd — remain.)
Article II section 2 of the Constitution, states that, “…[the President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.”
Unlike the heads of other executive departments (such as the Secretaries of Energy, Transportation, etc.), most of Obama’s czars have not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Some of them might not have even been subjected to a basic FBI background check. Importantly, as advisors to the president, these individuals can claim “executive privilege” if ever subpoenaed to testify before Congress. And they are not subject to transparency laws. They answer to no one but President Obama.
There is an effort currently underway in Congress, led by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), to force the czars to testify before Congress with respect to their “authority and responsibilities.” And Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) has introduced legislation that mandates that czars be appointed only with advice and consent of the Senate.
Meanwhile, Judicial Watch has launched a full investigation of Obama’s czar’s –- all 38 of them. We filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Office of Management and Budget as well as requests with each separate czar office. (Of course we included Van Jones on our list. The White House, in a snarky reply, said it had no documents responsive to our request because Jones “was not appointed as a ‘czar.’ Mr. Jones was appointed as Special Advisor for Green Jobs.”) On all of these requests, we’re after any and all documents pertaining to the mission statements, staffing and budgets for these offices.
The Jones story is not over as questions remain as to who hired him and who ignored (or, more likely, was impressed by) his radical background.
I will be certain to keep you apprised of any developments in this investigation.
Will Supreme Court Strike Down McCain-Feingold Restrictions on Free Speech?
The U.S. Supreme Court wasn’t scheduled to get back to work until October 5th. However, in a highly unusual move, the High Court got an early start this week, scheduling a special session on Tuesday to hear arguments in a lawsuit that could spell the end for the controversial and unconstitutional McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.
One should be hesitant about trying to read too much into U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments, but it did appear to many court observers that the conservative block on the Court might just have enough votes to invalidate McCain-Feingold.
The well-respected SCOTUSblog reported:
“If supporters of federal curbs on political campaign spending by corporations were counting on Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., to hesitate to strike down such restrictions, they could take no comfort from the Supreme Court’s 93-minute hearing Wednesday on that historic question. Despite the best efforts of four other Justices to argue for ruling only very narrowly, the strongest impression was that they had not convinced the two members of the Court thought to be still open to that approach. At least the immediate prospect was for a sweeping declaration of independence in politics for companies and advocacy groups formed as corporations.”
At issue in this lawsuit is a 90-minute documentary about Hillary Clinton produced by the conservative organization Citizens United. In 2008, the Federal Election Commission, citing McCain-Feingold, prohibited the program from airing during election season. This prompted Citizens United to file a lawsuit to vindicate its First Amendment rights (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission).
Chief Justice Roberts had the best line of the session when he explained why the Supreme Court, and not the FEC, should decide whether a campaign finance law is constitutional: “We don’t put our First Amendment rights in the hands of FEC bureaucrats.”
Amen to that.
Now, as I told you last month, Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court that argues that the FEC’s decision to restrict the documentary’s broadcasting violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court will now decide whether to overturn two High Court precedents (Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission) that restrict corporate speech (which not only affects Citizens United, but your Judicial Watch as well).
Please click here to read our brief in full. The bottom line is that McCain-Feingold violates the First Amendment by preventing corporations from using their own money independently to talk about politicians and public policy issues. This law could even prevent Judicial Watch (or any other organization) from telling the truth about corrupt politicians in the months prior to an election. If we value the First Amendment and our fundamental rights, that’s something we should not tolerate — and something the Supreme Court should not tolerate either.
Does Obama’s Healthcare Plan Cover Illegal Aliens?
South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson is all over the news after interrupting President Obama’s healthcare address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what happened, according to The New York Times:
In an angry and very audible outburst, Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, interrupted President Obama’s speech Wednesday night with a shout of “You lie!”
Though he later apologized, his eruption — in response to Mr. Obama’s statement that Democratic health proposals would not cover illegal immigrants — stunned members of both parties in the House chamber.
The liberal media is focusing completely on Congressman Wilson’s ill-mannered outburst, while neglecting to highlight that it came after President Obama said that opponents of his plans for health-care takeover had base motives and were liars. But what about Wilson’s fundamental charge? Is the President correct when he says his healthcare plan will not cover illegals? No.
The President points out that there is language in Democratic healthcare proposals stating that illegal aliens are not entitled to healthcare. “That idea has never been on the table,” the President said in a recent radio address. However, the fundamental issue regarding whether or not illegals will receive benefits has to do with verification. As National Review Online blogger (and immigration expert who runs the Center for Immigration Studies) Mark Krikorian points out:
The provision of the bill that purports to bar illegals from receiving the insurance subsidy is meaningless, and specifically intended to be so; when Rep. Dean Heller (R., Nev.) offered an amendment to require verification of eligibility via the SAVE system (which is used to check applicants for other forms of government assistance), the measure was voted down on party lines. Regarding a different provision of the bill, Rep. Nathan Deal (R., Ga.) offered an amendment to verify the eligibility of applicants for expanded Medicaid, and it too was voted down by the Democrats.
If the President and Democratic leaders in Congress are truly serious about banning illegals from receiving health insurance subsidies, why not legislate now the use of the same verification systems already in place for other federal programs?
My guess is that the President and liberals do want illegals to receive healthcare under their reform proposals. They’re just smart enough to know their healthcare takeover proposals would be even less popluar with the American people if such a provision were explicitly included.
Thanks to Congressman Wilson, Obama and his allies will have a harder time getting away with their trickery. Today’s Washington Post, for instance, grudgingly highlighted that illegals can buy insurance through taxpayer-subsidized “insurance exchanges” at the heart of Obama’s reform plans. One liberal expert admitted to the Post, “Will some illegal immigrant get [help]? Probably. Will it be this big problem? Probably not.” I beg to differ –- any illegals getting insurance paid for by taxpayers is a big problem.
Look for the liberals to try to destroy Rep. Wilson to distract attention away from the fundamental point of taxpayer funding of illegal alien health care. (Meanwhile tax cheats like Charlie Rangel still get the full support of liberal leaders in Congress.)
Of course, as I told you weeks ago, these lowball tactics used by the Obama administration to force government-run healthcare down our throats is right out of Hillary Clinton’s playbook, circa 1993. Click here to read more on that.
A Day of Remembrance
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred eight years ago today. Of course, today, our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who were murdered that day and the loved ones they left behind.
Judicial Watch tries to honor these victims through our strong national security work, which includes a variety of investigations and litigation. We are especially proud to represent someone who lost his wife (and the mother of his two daughters) that day. Judicial Watch also serves as a counterweight to the ACLU in the public policy and court battles over our nation’s responses to the 9/11 attacks.
Until next week…
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