Judicial Watch • Obama Subverts Rule of Law

Obama Subverts Rule of Law

Obama Subverts Rule of Law

AUGUST 17, 2012

Obamnesty Hits the Streets as Millions of Illegal Aliens Line-up to Claim Legal Status

What started as a “top secret” Obama administration stealth initiative – illegal alien amnesty – has now become publicly and painfully obvious as millions of illegal aliens line-up to receive their “priority deferment.” Per immigration expert Mark Krikorian:

What does President Barack Obama call a bill which has repeatedly failed in Congress? A law!

The Department of Homeland Security yesterday began accepting applications for the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) amnesty program. The move will award renewable two-year grants of legal status, including work cards and Social Security numbers, to illegal aliens claiming to have arrived before their 16th birthday.

Whereas before, a person actually had to come to the United States legally and through the proper channels to become a U.S. citizen, here are the “new and improved” qualifications needed to secure legal status and a path to citizenship. (They come courtesy of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.)

An illegal alien may claim to be granted an exemption from deportation and a work card if they…

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching [their] 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making [their] request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or [their] lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

That last point shows you how easy it will be for criminals to be granted this illicit amnesty.  You can have several arrests, “insignificant” misdemeanors and two or less “other” misdemeanors and, if I follow it correctly, still be eligible for this amnesty.

(By the way, these qualifications have already been amended, The Daily Caller reports. White House officials have confirmed that middle-school dropouts will also be allowed to apply for amnesty, adding 350,000 “low skilled” illegal aliens to the list. Not quite the list of “scientists, skilled workers and entrepreneurs,” promised by the Obama White House notes The Daily Caller. Stay tuned for additional “amendments.”

Of course, the key question is this: If Congress rejected the DREAM Act, and Congress is vested by the U.S. Constitution with the exclusive ability to craft the laws of the land, how then can the President simply ignore both the Constitution and Congress and enact this law by executive fiat?

How indeed?

On August 15, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeking an answer to this question.

Here’s what we’re after from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel: “All records concerning, regarding, or relating to the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to exercise prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children as outlined in a June 15, 2012 Memorandum by Secretary Napolitano. Such records include, but are not limited to, opinions, memoranda, or legal advice rendered by the Office of Legal Counsel.”

In addition to seeking the same records from DHS, we also want “All records concerning, regarding, or relating to the legal authority for the DHS decision to exercise prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children as outlined in a June 15, 2012 Memorandum by Secretary Napolitano.” [Emphasis added.]

Of course the Obama administration may consider this to be a trick question. There is no legal authority. And that’s why both agencies are stonewalling our requests and have forced us to go to the courts (again) to seek to force the Obama gang to comply with basic FOIA law.

While the President needs to be roundly criticized, and held to account, for stomping all over the Constitution, a FoxNews.com article by activists Bob Dane and Kristen Williams suggests Congress needs to share some of the blame:

Congress is out of town now, but frankly, even when they were in town they were out of touch and unwilling to challenge President Obama’s usurpation of their exclusive plenary authority over immigration policy.

Today’s amnesty is the dénouement of the backdoor tactics this president has been peddling since taking office and should have been no surprise to Congress.

Congress needs to wake up, show up, stand up and remind itself that they rejected the DREAM Act as recently as December 2010.

Make no mistake. This shameless and self-interested move by President Obama is about one thing: Votes. USA Today noted that the president’s prioritized deportation policy “fortified Hispanic enthusiasm” for his candidacy when first announced. According to a poll published at the time of the president’s announcement, approximately 8 in 10 Hispanics approved the suspended deportation policy. No surprises there.

In the end, I am convinced that this lawless amnesty program is not about the “Hispanic” vote, but the illegal alien vote.  It is no coincidence that this administration is opposing efforts in Florida to even ascertain whether there are non-citizens on the voting rolls.  And, of course, illegal aliens are less likely to have legitimate “voter IDs,” which also helps explain Obama, Inc.’s jihad against voter ID and other election integrity efforts.

We will continue to expose and challenge this unconstitutional amnesty program.  Indeed, earlier this week Judicial Watch was on CBS television news programs throughout the country opposing this new dangerous policy.

And our lawyers are considering direct legal challenges to the policy.   I’ll keep you apprised of developments…

JW Victory! State Court Upholds Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

Judge Robert Simpson of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued a critical decision this week preserving Pennsylvania House Bill 934, a new law which requires voters to produce a Pennsylvania driver’s license or another government-issued photo ID, such as a U.S. passport, military ID, or county/municipal employee ID when voting.

Per USA Today:

A judge in the battleground state of Pennsylvania ruled Wednesday that a GOP-backed voter-ID law could be implemented in November despite fierce objections from opponents who say it could disenfranchise thousands of low-income and minority voters.

Judge Robert Simpson, in issuing his 70-page opinion, was unmoved by arguments that the law, which requires voters to show certain types of government-issued identification at the polls, would pose an unreasonable burden on voters.

This tired “disenfranchise argument,” by the way, has no merit. The law requires the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to provide valid identification at no cost. The law further allows an individual without identification to cast a “provisional” ballot that will be counted if the identity of the voter can be indisputably ascertained within six business days of the election.

During the trial, opponents of the election integrity law attempted to do what they always do – inject emotion into the legal debate by trotting out an alleged victim of the policy. But the judge did not bend: “At the end of the day, I do not have the luxury of deciding this issue based on my sympathy for the witnesses, or my esteem for counsel,” wrote Simpson.

Here’s the statement I offered to the press, praising the decision:

It was rewarding to see that the Court’s decision incorporated much of the argument provided by Judicial Watch’s amicus brief.  This voter ID law will increase confidence in the integrity of our elections. Be assured that we are prepared to defend this law before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court if need be.

On July 17, 2012, Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae brief with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on behalf of Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalf and 49 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives who supported the bill. Rep. Metcalf was the author of and driving force behind the bill. Nearly half of the members who supported the bill are signed on to the Judicial Watch amicus. (Judicial Watch jointly filed its brief with Pennsylvania attorney L. Theodore Hoppe Jr.)

Here’s a squib from the amicus curiae brief:

In passing HB 934, the legislature did no more than exercise its sound discretion and create a common sense regulatory scheme to secure free and equal elections. The legislature undoubtedly had such authority and used it accordingly.

In addition, because the legislature has the discretion to enact laws regulating elections, the courts must not overturn the policy choices of the legislative branch unless the legislature acts with gross abuse…In using its authority [the legislature] has not caused anyone to be disenfranchised, it has maintained and promoted free and equal elections, and it has not expanded upon the qualifications set forth in the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Judicial Watch has been involved in supporting the Pennsylvania voter ID law for some time. JW Attorney Michael Bekesha testified on March 21, 2011, before the State Government Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, that the bill was a good way for Pennsylvania “to ensure fair elections for its citizens.”

In his statement following the decision, Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe agreed: “This ruling supports a common sense law that safeguards legitimately cast votes from nullification by fraudulently cast votes. Implementation of HB 934 will restore integrity to Pennsylvania’s election process, because one fraudulently cast vote is one too many.”

Opponents of election integrity plan to appeal the ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, so the war is not yet over. But at least for now, one legal hurdle has been cleared and the law is intact. (To stay on track with Judicial Watch’s essential election integrity work, you can go to our 2012 Election Integrity Project site on the Internet.)

JW Obtains Records Detailing Questionable Expenditures at the CFPB

During a May 24, 2011, hearing, U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle asked then-head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Elizabeth Warren why starting salaries at the agency exceeded Office of Personnel Management (OPM) standards by up to 90%: “How do you justify that kind of a disparity in salaries between a government worker and the folks that are going to be hired by your regulatory agency?” asked Rep. Buerkle.

Warren defended the salaries, saying the consumer bureau is competing with the financial services industry for talent and “we’ll never be able to pay like the financial services industry pays.” The direct implication: The CFPB pays more because it has to in order to secure top banking experts.

So why, then, did the CFPB send its top attorneys to a “Banking Law Fundamentals” class at George Washington University as detailed in new documents obtained by Judicial Watch?

Judicial Watch obtained the records pursuant to a June 18, 2012 FOIA request. We filed the request after finding a May 31, 2012 purchase order published at usaspending.gov indicating the CFPB paid George Washington University $4,500 in class tuition on behalf of six employees to attend the “Banking Law Fundamentals” class.  The documents included training authorization forms as well as internal emails seeking approval to enroll in the course at agency expense.

According to the records, the purpose of the George Washington University course, which took place on June 8, 2012, was to “familiarize participants with the basics of banking law.” Topics included, “The structure and purpose of bank regulation.”

In pursuing the invitation to enroll, Enforcement Attorney Christina Coll emailed Acting Litigation Deputy Deborah Morris on May 4, 2011, saying: “This looks like an awesome agenda for a banking world novice like me.” While Ms. Coll’s salary is unknown, according to records previously uncovered by Judicial Watch, other Enforcement Attorneys received starting salaries as high as $173,000 per year.

The fact that CFPB paid to train its attorneys in banking law fundamentals at taxpayer expense certainly appears to undermine Warren’s testimony in 2011 regarding the experience level of the agency’s highly paid attorneys. (Warren is now running for Senate in Massachusetts.)

And, as detailed in these records, the questionable expenses did not stop there.

Judicial Watch also uncovered documents indicating the agency spent $479,353 to help resolve two entry-level employees’ communications issues. On April 12, 2012, the CFPB paid $465,764 for sign language translation services from the date of the purchase order through the end of the year. The agency had spent $13,590 earlier in the year, including $1,185 for the interpreter’s gas mileage.

As you may recall, JW previously obtained documents revealing the generous salaries and bonuses of CFPB employees. According to the records, some CFPB workers were hired at salaries twice the maximum ordinarily allowed under guidelines published each year by the OPM. A dozen new hires take home more than $225,000 a year, while a student intern was paid $51,620 “through completion of education & study.”

Can you imagine any circumstance that would warrant hiring an intern for more than $50,000 a year?

Of course these types of ridiculous budget allocations are to be expected given that the CFPB is not subject to the congressional appropriations process, and instead receives its funds from the Federal Reserve.

These records document what appear to be wasteful practices inside the CFPB as it assumes unprecedented authority over the activities of the private sector.  And I’m certain they will continue in an agency operating outside of congressional authority, and headed by a radical director who never would have survived vetting by the U.S. Senate.

As you may recall, President Obama used a controversial “recess appointment” to install current director (and anti-business zealot) Richard Cordray, who succeeded Elizabeth Warren as head of the agency. Congress was not in recess at the time of the appointment. Judicial watch uncovered records demonstrating that Cordray, who was not vetted by the U.S. Senate, questioned whether the courts would uphold the constitutionality of his own appointment.

Did You Buy the Book Yet?

We received more good news about my bestselling Judicial Watch book, The Corruption Chronicles.  It will appear on the New York Times best seller list yet again and was one of the top selling books in the country last week again.

We also received a nice review from the Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost, who reviewed the book for the Washington Times.  Cost called the book “easily the most comprehensive tour of the ‘Chicago way’ we have seen to date.”  Mr. Cost went on to say that we produced:

a noteworthy accomplishment in “The Corruption Chronicles.” With the “Chicago way” dominating the political process for the past three years, it is no little feat to put together a readable, engaging, persuasive account of what has gone wrong. The book is recommended not only to those upset about the Obama administration, but to any who worry that corruption is a norm tolerated by both political parties in today’s Washington.

My goal is to make this book a best seller for the ages.  If each of you receiving this email bought one or two copies of the book, it would be the #1 best seller in the country for weeks.  And help change the debate about political corruption in Washington, DC.

This is a huge opportunity to advance our cause, so please buy a copy of The Corruption Chronicles (or buy more copies!) as soon as you can.  You can do it online here, or go to your local bookseller.

(If you’d like a signed book plate for your copy, you can obtain one here.)

Until next week…


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