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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Obama Rejects Rule of Law In Arizona

July 9, 2010

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Obama Administration Launches Legal Assault on Arizona Over Illegal Immigration Law

We all knew it was coming. As soon as Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a tough new illegal immigration enforcement law, the Obama White House promised a war. And that’s what they brought this Tuesday when the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the State of Arizona.

According to Fox News:

Accusing Arizona of trying to “second guess” the federal government, the Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s immigration policy — claiming the “invalid” law interferes with federal immigration responsibilities and “must be struck down.”

The suit names the state of Arizona as well as Gov. Jan Brewer as defendants. In it, the Justice Department claims the federal government has “preeminent authority” on immigration enforcement and that the Arizona law “disrupts” that balance. It urges the U.S. District Court in Arizona to “preliminarily and permanently” prohibit the state from enforcing the law, which is scheduled to go into effect at the end of the month.

The government’s core legal argument centers on the Supremacy Clause, which, in short-hand, means that where there is a conflict, federal law trumps state law. And since illegal immigration, according to Justice lawyers, is a federal responsibility, the State of Arizona has no business sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.

Of course this is a bogus argument. The courts have consistently held that states can, in fact, implement immigration-related laws, as long as these laws do not go beyond the dictates of federal law. The Arizona statute merely seeks to enforce federal law. Nothing more.

But if you really want to understand the Obama administration’s motivation for filing this lawsuit, check out this excerpt: “If allowed to go into effect, S.B. 1070’s mandatory enforcement scheme will conflict with and undermine the federal government’s careful balance of immigration enforcement priorities and objectives.”

Allow me to translate. If Arizona’s law is allowed to go into effect, it will interfere with the Obama administration’s decision not to enforce laws against illegal immigration! In other words, the Arizona law might just force the federal government to confront a responsibility that it would rather avoid. The term “mandatory enforcement” is a bit scary to the Obama administration when it comes to immigration law.

Sure enough, in its related brief requesting a preliminary injunction, the Obama administration talks of its “ability to provide measured enforcement of criminal sanctions so as to accommodate the many other objectives that Congress enacted into the immigration laws.” You have to love that phrase “measured enforcement.” The late George Orwell would be in awe of this doublespeak.

The Obama gang admits to a federal court that it does not want to enforce a number of federal laws against immigration and, as a result, that states that try to complement or follow those laws must be stopped! This is, it should go without saying (even in logic-deprived Washington), a weak legal argument.

This dereliction fits in with what Arizona Republican Senator John Kyl recounted about a meeting he had recently with President Obama. The Huffington Post reports:

Speaking to conservative supporters in his home state, Kyl alleged that President Obama told him in a private meeting that if his administration takes steps to “secure the border,” then lawmakers in Washington “won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.” The GOP Senator went on to criticize the approach to border control by blasting, “They are holding it hostage.”

The Obama approach to illegal immigration is about as cynical and lawless as it comes. There evidently is no effective voice for the rule of law in his administration.

Here’s another excerpt from the Obama Justice Department lawsuit that is utterly foolish and insulting: “The United States understands the State of Arizona’s legitimate concerns about illegal immigration, and has undertaken significant efforts to secure our nation’s borders.”

And just what “significant efforts” is the Justice Department referring to? The Obama administration’s plan to provide blanket amnesty to all illegals, a plan we already know will lead to a flood of illegal aliens crossing the border to take advantage of the program? The federal government’s attempts to undermine 287g, a federal program that trains local law enforcement officers in illegal immigration enforcement techniques? The Justice Department’s own campaign to harass Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known as “America’s toughest sheriff” for his no-nonsense approach to illegal immigration enforcement?

Other than temporarily sending a few National Guardsman down to the border in a publicity stunt, the Obama administration has done little to address the crisis at the southern border.

After the Obama Justice Department filed its lawsuit, Governor Brewer said in response: “It is wrong that our own federal government is suing the people of Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law. As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug and immigrant smuggling cartels. Now, Arizona is under attack in federal court from President Obama and his Department of Justice.”

But not just Arizona — every state in the country that seeks to protect its citizens from the scourge of rampant illegal immigration. (According to press reports, Oklahoma, Utah and South Carolina are among the many states now considering tough new illegal immigration enforcement measures of their own.)

That’s why Judicial Watch’s nationwide campaign to enforce our nation’s immigration laws is a high priority. We realize Arizona is a key battleground. We’ve been working with the citizens of Arizona for years to address the illegal immigration crisis. And we will certainly help them now to mount a defense against the Obama administration’s offensive. In fact, our attorneys are working to draft an amicus brief to file in support of the Arizona law next week. But we’re also taking a 50-state strategy to counter illegal immigration.

Stay tuned. Arizona’s law, absent court intervention, will go into effect on July 29th.

Obama Installs Health Czar Who Favors Government “Rationing”

President Obama named a new Health Czar this week: Donald Berwick, an academic from Harvard. No surprises there. Of course the President didn’t bother with the pesky confirmation process proscribed by the U.S. Constitution. Instead he bypassed the Senate by making Berwick a “recess appointment,” an authority that is supposed to be exercised on rare occasions when the Senate is out of session for a long period of time. Berwick will have the job until the end of 2011. Other presidents have used recess appointments excessively, but usually the nominee has filled out the paper work, had a hearing scheduled, and as been under consideration for a good while. None of this is true of Berwick. (Democrats hadn’t even scheduled a hearing, despite a specific request several weeks ago from a leading Republican.)

According to The Washington Post:

President Barack Obama bypassed the Senate Wednesday and appointed Dr. Donald Berwick, a Harvard professor and patient care specialist, to run Medicare and Medicaid.

The decision to use a so-called recess appointment to install Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services drew immediate fire from the GOP. Republicans have raised concerns about Berwick’s views on rationing of care and other matters and said it was wrong for Obama to go around the normal Senate confirmation process. That view was echoed by a key Democratic committee chairman, although the recess appointment is a tool used by presidents of both parties.

That “Democratic Committee Chairman” was Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and here’s what he said about the recess appointment: “Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power.”

That is precisely what we’ve been saying all along about Obama’s czars. And abiding by the constitutional process is especially important given that the President has demonstrated a penchant for installing radical leftists to these important positions.

And how radical is Berwick?

Regarding Berwick’s views on rationing, here’s a gem from the Harvard professor: “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care, the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”

And remember all of that talk about Obama’s death panels, where the federal government gets to decide who lives and who dies? Statements like the following will send chills down your spine once you cut through the bureaucratic lingo.

“The social budget is limited — we have a limited resource pool. It makes terribly good sense to at least know the price of an added benefit, and at some point we might say nationally, regionally, or locally that we wish we could afford it, but we can’t.”

Like, for example, effective cancer treatments. The Washington Examiner printed an editorial this week that tells the story of Linda O’Boyle who had her cancer treatment shut off by the British National Health Service because it was not “cost effective.” She died within a few months.

According to the Examiner, “Britain’s cancer survival rate ranges between 40.2 percent and 48.1 percent for men and between 48 percent with 54.1 percent for women, compared with 66 percent for U.S. men and 63 percent for U.S. women.”

Berwick describes himself as a “romantic for the National Health Service.” And perhaps that’s one reason why they call him “death panel Donald.” And another reason Obama doesn’t want a debate about this appointee and the already failing Obamacare government takeover of our nation’s healthcare system.

Berwick is not the first radical Obama czar. And he won’t be the last. The President knows these people would not likely earn Senate confirmation, or at least not without a public battle. So instead he abuses his office and simply installs them to their positions of power with no congressional oversight.

Judicial Watch is conducting a comprehensive investigation of Obama’s czars. You can read more here.

Judicial Watch Files Congressional Ethics Complaint Against Rep. Joe Sestak Over Obama White House Jobs Scandal

A few weeks ago, I told you we filed an official complaint with the Office of Special Counsel requesting an investigation of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who attempted to manipulate the Pennsylvania Senate race by offering a federal job to Rep. Joe Sestak. Emanuel, through his emissary Bill Clinton, dangled the job offer to try to persuade Sestak to abandon his campaign against Sen. Arlen Specter, the Obama White House’s preferred candidate. (We also included Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina in our complaint for a similar scheme involving Colorado Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff.)

As we explained in our complaint, these bribery schemes are a violation of federal law. (More than one, actually.)

Well this week we focused on Sestak more directly. Not just for the job offer, but for allegedly conspiring with the Obama White House to cover it up.

Here’s how we put it in our complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics dated July 7, 2010: “…The record of statements made to the media suggest that Congressman Sestak and Obama White House officials conspired to cover up the facts of a job offer made to Congressman Sestak in an effort to avoid criminal sanctions for violation of the Hatch Act and other federal laws. And by so doing they may have engaged in a criminal conspiracy.”

Let’s take a quick look at the timeline so you can get a sense of how all of this unfolded and why we think it rises to the level of a criminal conspiracy.

You may recall in his initial statement to the press in February 2010, Rep. Sestak said the White House offered him a “federal job” in an effort to dissuade him from challenging Sen. Specter in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary. This was a clear-cut, straight forward statement. And he remained faithful to it through the end of May.

On May 28, after weeks of stonewalling and obfuscation, the White House finally released its official statement on the job offer and (not surprisingly) found “no improper conduct regarding Congressman Sestak. Moreover, the White House claimed Sestak had not been offered a job, but rather “unpaid service on a presidential advisory board” by former President Bill Clinton at the behest of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

And that’s when Sestak changed his story, suggesting he was not offered “a federal job” after all, but rather the White House made an “advisory board offer.” Sestak did admit in a press interview that one day before releasing its statement the Obama White House contacted his brother to tell him “what’s going to occur.”

So to sum: Sestak issues his account. The White House issues a conflicting account that it believes absolves them of any criminal wrongdoing. The White House contacts Sestak through his brother. Sestak changes his story.

Now, let me call your attention to 18 USC Section 371 of the United States Code, which states: “If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

So you can see why we think the word “conspiracy” applies here.

It sure looks like Sestak and the Obama White House conspired to get their stories straight. They knew they were on the wrong side of the law and tried to cover it up. Why else would Congressman Sestak change his story so drastically?

In the end, it does not matter whether the job offered to Sestak was paid or unpaid. The offer was a violation of federal law and those involved should be held accountable.

We hope the Office of Congressional Ethics will respond to our complaint and conduct a thorough, independent investigation.

Until next week…

Tom Fitton

Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts, click here.

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