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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

Weekly Update: See the Movie!

JW Movie The District of Corruption Hits Theaters October 26

We are proud to announce the release of our new documentary film “The District of Corruption,” which puts the spotlight on Judicial Watch’s epic battle against government scandal, secrecy and corruption through the last three presidential administrations (see the trailer here). Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon, the writer/director of “Occupy Unmasked” and the Sarah Palin film “The Undefeated,” and produced in association with Constant Motion Entertainment, the Judicial Watch film will be released nationally by Rocky Mountain Pictures, the distributors of the documentary sensation, “Obama 2016.” The movie “The District of Corruption” will be available in select theaters on October 26:

  • Old Mill Playhouse, Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, 1000 Old Mill Run, The Villages, FL
  • AMC Lennox Town Center 24, 777 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH
  • Edwards Greenway Palace Stadium, 3839 Weslayan Street, Houston, TX

You can find up-to-date movie trailer, ticket, and theater information at

Our film chronicles the ongoing battle to clean up government corruption in Washington, DC, intensely focusing upon Judicial Watch’s efforts to counter the unprecedented corruption and secrecy of the permanent political class. You’ll be able to see for yourself a comprehensive exposĂ© of the Obama administration’s current scandals, including: Operation Fast and Furious; crony capitalism; Solyndra and other “green energy;” federal bailouts and earmarks; ACORN and voter fraud; illegal alien amnesty; and threats to the integrity of the 2012 elections; as well as new attacks on government transparency and accountability.
“The District of Corruption” features interviews with Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, Director of Investigations and Research Chris Farrell and Director of Litigation Paul Orfanedes, as well as some of the conservative movement’s most influential leaders and cutting-edge voices including: J. Christian Adams (Election Law Center), Matthew Boyle (The Daily Caller), Mike Flynn (, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Vern McKinley (author, Financing Failure: A Century of Bailouts), Anita Moncrief (former ACORN insider), Katie Pavlich (, Kerry Picket (The Washington Times), Peter Schweizer (Author, Throw Them All Out), Mark Tapscott (The Washington Examiner), and Matthew Vadum (Author, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers).

“The District of Corruption” is a companion piece to my New York Times best-selling book, “The Corruption Chronicles, Obama’s Big Secrecy, Big Corruption, and Big Government,” which was released in July by Simon & Schuster’s Threshold Editions.

For too long, our nation has suffered through a massive expansion of government power and corruption, the likes of which we haven’t seen in generations. This fall will see more than a few fictional portrayals of today’s Washington in theaters. This movie is the unvarnished truth. We know that you are tired of Washington corruption from both parties-that’s why your Judicial Watch is the largest grassroots watchdog group in the nation. It is our aim that this documentary will educate the American people by giving them the truth about Obama’s corrupt political machine and the longstanding problem of bipartisan corruption in Washington, DC.

This film does not pull a single punch. It is brutally honest. And it names names – from both political parties. Importantly, however, the movie also provides a reason to hope. This is a movie for the ages and is an incisive history of DC corruption over the last two decades. Our examination of the current crisis within the Obama administration is the most comprehensive narrative yet.

Judicial Watch has filed 950 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and more than 90 lawsuits against the Obama administration on issues ranging from Obamacare to the continued funding of the criminal ACORN network; from tracking Wall Street bailout money to the unconstitutional use of czars; and to the attacks on the integrity of our nation’s elections. This documentary also follows historic lawsuits against the Bush administration over secrecy issues, one of which ended up before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Trust me, you will love this movie. If you live in the areas of its initial release (Houston, Texas; Columbus, OH; or The Villages, FL) please go see it next week.  Our goal is sell out the movie on its opening weekend. We want to expand to more cities but we must get a tremendous opening to do that. Call toll free 1-877-298-9387 for times and locations in your area and to get tickets.

A limited number of complimentary tickets are being offered to Judicial Watch members in next week’s opening markets.

Again, call today or visit the movie website for ticket and theater information – and see our movie trailer at

High Court Puts Affirmative Action under the Microscope

Liberals would have you believe that so-called affirmative action in higher education was settled back in 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that race-based admissions policies at the University of Michigan School of Law were, more or less, constitutional.

But not so fast. The issue is once again before the High Court, giving justices another opportunity to clarify their position on the matter.

This case was brought by Abigail Noel Fisher, who claims that race-based admission policies of the University of Texas at Austin violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Ms. Fisher was denied admission to the university in 2008.

The Supreme Court held oral arguments on October 10, 2012. The court is expected to issue a decision before the term ends in June 2013.
As reported by The New York Times: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday [October 10] heard arguments in a major affirmative action case, with the justices debating the nature and value of diversity in higher education and the role of the courts in policing how much weight admissions officers may assign to race.”

“The questioning was exceptionally sharp,” continued the Times, noting that Justice Kennedy, deemed the “swing vote” in this case, appeared “uncomfortable” with some aspects of the school’s affirmative action policy. (One of our excellent attorneys, Julie Axelrod, attended last week’s Supreme Court argument for Judicial Watch.)

Now, again, I caution against reading the tea leaves with respect to how the court might rule, especially after so many, including yours truly, guessed wrong about Obamacare. All eyes were on Justice Kennedy. Few suspected it would be Chief Justice Roberts who would join with the liberal minority and bless the president’s unconstitutional takeover of the health care system. But that’s what happened. 

The difficulties of forecasting the court’s decisions notwithstanding, I did find very interesting one exchange in the hearing’s transcript: Chief Justice Roberts appears to share Judicial Watch’s concerns about “self-identification” as the sole means of determining who is and who is not a minority as far as the admissions process is concerned. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the transcript:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Counsel…I need to figure out exactly what these numbers mean. Should someone who is one-quarter Hispanic check the Hispanic box or some different box?

MR. GARRE: Your Honor, there is a multiracial box. Students check boxes based on their own determination. This is true under the Common Application.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, I suppose a person who is one-quarter percent Hispanic, his own determination, would [say] I’m one-quarter percent Hispanic.

MR. GARRE: Then they would check that box, Your Honor, as is true…

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: They would check that box. What about one-eighth?

MR. GARRE: …they would make that self-determination, Your Honor. If anyone, in any part of the application, violated some honor code then that could come out…

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Would it violate the honor code for someone who is one-eighth Hispanic and says, I identify as Hispanic, to check the Hispanic box?

MR. GARRE: …I don’t think it would, Your Honor…

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: You don’t check in any way the racial identification?

MR. GARRE: We do not, Your Honor, and no college in America, the Ivy Leagues, the Little Ivy Leagues, that I’m aware of.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: So how do you know you have 15 percent African American — Hispanic or 15 percent minority?

MR. GARRE: Your Honor, the same way that that determination is made in any other situation I’m aware of where race is taken into account.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: You say the same way. What is that way?

MR. GARRE: The persons self-identify on that form.

As I say, Judicial Watch made much the same argument in its amicus curiae brief filed on May 29, 2012. We used the controversy surrounding Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, and her controversial claim that she is part Native American, to illustrate the point:

Based on nothing more than “family lore” and “high cheek bones,” Ms. Warren claimed, perhaps quite sincerely, that she was 1/32nd Cherokee and, therefore, a Native American and a minority.

Under the University’s policy, an applicant who similarly identified herself as an “American Indian” based on “family lore” and “high cheekbones” would gain a “plus” factor toward admission…Imagine a freshman class at the University comprised of 6,715 Elizabeth Warrens, all identical but for the difference in the race or ethnicity of a single great great-great grandparent. How much additional diversity would the University have achieved by taking the race and ethnicity of these students into account in the admissions process?

But our argument goes much further than the ambiguous nature of the self-identification process. We also take issue with the nature of racial categorization itself, which has no scientific validity and largely is a “meaningless” standard of classification:

Human race and ethnicity are inherent ambiguous social constructs that have no validity in science. Invoking race and ethnicity to promote diversity relies on racial and ethnic stereotyping of individuals’ viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences. Admission policies, such as the policy enacted by the University, which seek to classify applicants by crude, inherently ambiguous, and unsound racial and ethnic categories to promote diversity, but which instead promote racial and ethnic stereotyping, can never be narrowly tailored to promote a compelling government interest, and therefore cannot survive strict scrutiny.

Judicial Watch further noted the university policy “lumps together” two of the most populous countries in the world, China and India, each with over 1 billion people, a variety of languages, cultures and religions, under one race category, “Asian.”

“The term ‘Asian’ as anything other than a geographic reference is largely meaningless,” Judicial Watch argues.

Judicial Watch concludes: “To fulfill the promise of the Equal Protection Clause, the Court should find that race and ethnicity can never be narrowly tailored to promote diversity in admissions policies and therefore cannot survive strict scrutiny,” as the law requires.

Since 2005, the University of Texas at Austin has used race in its admissions process, purportedly to achieve greater diversity in its student body. Applicants to the university are currently required to complete and submit a standardized “Apply Texas” application, which requires applicants to identify themselves by race and denote whether they are of “Hispanic or Latino” ethnicity.

Ironically, the liberal racial bean-counters who defend affirmative action assume retrograde and quite illiberal views on race. We principled conservatives and honest liberals who would end this racial-spoils system that is affirmative action are, frankly, the “progressives” on matters of race.

The admissions policies of the University of Texas at Austin are at odds with the Constitution and promote racial theories that have no basis in science.  It’s time for the Supreme Court to put an end to this unlawful practice.

No Answers from Obama Administration on Murdered American Citizens

As I referenced in the October 12 edition of the Weekly Update, the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on 9/11/12 led to the murders of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American citizens.

One of the other American citizens was Sean Smith, a computer specialist at the U.S. Consulate. (For the record, terrorists murdered former Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Wood as well.)

Sean Smith’s mother, Pat Smith, has been in the news quite a bit since the attack, calling attention to the Obama administration’s stonewalling and obfuscation regarding the truth about what happened to her son. In an interview with CNN’s Andersen Cooper, Mrs. Smith told Cooper that President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton all promised they would get her answers. She has received none so far:

I begged them to tell me what was – what happened. I said I want to know all the details, all of the details no matter what it is, and I’ll make up my own mind on it. And everyone of them, all the big shots over there told me that – they promised me, they promised me that they would tell me what happened. As soon as they figure it out.

No one, not one person has ever, ever gotten back to me.

Mrs. Smith also went on to say that while she’s getting very little information, “the things they are telling me are outright lies.” And regarding a personal interaction with the president, she said the president “stared off” into the distance when she cried on his shoulders. “That was worthless to me,” she recalled.

In witnessing all of this – the senseless murder of American citizens, the lack of evident concern on the part of the Obama administration, and the obfuscating and stonewalling- I’m reminded of our client, Tiffany Hartley, whose husband was murdered over two years ago on the Mexican border, allegedly at the hands of Mexican drug cartel members.

Like Mrs. Smith, Tiffany Hartley’s mission is simple: She wants justice and accountability for the 2010 murder of her husband on U.S.-Mexico border. She wants answers.

With Judicial Watch’s help, Mrs. Hartley has made repeated appeals to the Obama administration for information regarding her husband’s murder. To date, she has received nothing but silence and stonewalling.

Different victim. Same story.

Recently, however, there was an “out of the blue” break in the case, and Mrs. Hartley is finally getting some answers from the government – the Mexican government, that is.

As reported by Fox News:

The Mexican Navy announced Monday that it detained an alleged leader of the Zetas drug cartel who is suspected in the 2010 killing of American David Hartley on a lake near the U.S.-Mexico border, reported.

“If this gentleman, this suspect does have involvement, we want to know where David is at. Let’s get some evidence of his remains and let us as a family two years later be able to have some closure,” Tiffany Hartley, the victim’s widow, said from her Colorado home. “I pray that the Mexico authorities and officials keep him there and that they question him and ask him how he’s linked to David.”

Mrs. Hartley knows very little about the suspect, identified as Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo (a.k.a. “The Squirrel“). And, once again, she’s getting no help from the Obama administration. Recent inquiries to the Obama State Department, FBI and the president himself went unreturned. Not surprising since Mrs. Hartley has not heard a single word from anyone in the Obama administration, which has seemingly ended its participation in this murder investigation.

David Hartley was gunned down in September 2010, apparently at the hands of a Mexican drug cartel. Mr. and Mrs. Hartley were driving jet skis on Falcon Lake, which sits on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, when gunmen opened fire from a nearby boat striking Mr. Hartley in the head.

As Mrs. Harley tells it, many people suspect her for personally playing a role in her husband’s death. That stopped when the head of the case’s lead Mexican investigator was chopped off and sent to the military in a briefcase, leading authorities to focus on the Mexican drug cartels. (Escobedo is a suspect in the beheading murder of the investigator as well as the murders of 72 migrants in 2010.) He may have certainly directed these murders, but one might suppose he had some help. 

Mrs. Hartley has been aggressive in her pursuit of the truth into her husband’s murder and in her efforts to highlight the dangerous and chaotic situation at the U.S. border with Mexico. In September 2011, Mrs. Hartley testified before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security in a field forum on border issues held in Brownsville, Texas. Members in attendance included: Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX); Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI); and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX).

The hearing captured widespread attention from the press, not only in Texas, but around the country, including The Associated Press, which identified Mrs. Hartley as the hearing’s “highest profile witness.”

Let us hope the Mexican authorities continue to come up with answers, because I suspect none will come from the Obama administration.

Until next week…

Tom Fitton


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