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2012-05-10

Rep. Smith: 'DOJ disregarded US Constitution'

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

United States District 21 Rep. Lamar Smith recently released a report on the United States Justice Department's disregard of the Constitution and rule of law.

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Smith is leading efforts to oversee Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department.

During a whistle stop tour of Bandera County on Wednesday, May 2, the congressman dropped by the office of the Bandera County Courier to offer an update of the report.

Smith also announced that he has called on Holder to testify again before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, June 7, to answer questions about the administration's actions.

Mike Asmus, San Antonio district director, represented Smith recently at a "Meet & Greet the Candidates," held at American Legion Post 157.

Asmus was asked why no hearings had been held with Holder so far.

"AG Holder has been before the House Judiciary Committee three times in 2011," Asmus said. "Fast and Furious has not been forgotten." He then referenced the six-point report that Smith had issued.

According to Smith, his report outlined six instances of how the Obama administration is attempting to impose its partisan agenda on the American people. The half dozen instances included:

• Stalling the investigation of 'Operation Fast & Furious - In his May 3, 2011 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Holder indicated he had first learned abut the program only a few weeks earlier.

However, documents released by the Justice Department revealed that Holder had been privy to the ill-starred gun-walking program as early as July 2010. "On Nov. 8, 2011, Attorney General Holder conceded that his May 3 testimony was inaccurate," Smith said.

• Failing to enforce immigration laws - The Obama administration has refused to enforce US immigration laws. By filing a lawsuit against Arizona's immigration laws - SB 1070 - the Obama administration has sought to prevent states and local authorities from enforcing the laws as well.

Additionally, the DOJ refused to bring a case against states like New York, Massachusetts and Illinois that refuse to participated in Secure Communities, a federal program created to identify illegal and criminal immigrants. The DOJ also fails to prosecute cities and counties that participate in sanctuary policies that violate federal immigration laws, Smith said.

"This shows that the Justice Department is making decisions based on a partisan agenda rather than the law of the land," Smith commented.

• Challenging Voter ID laws - On March 12 of this year, the DOJ challenged a Texas law enacted by the state legislature to require voters to show a valid, state-issued form of identification before being allowed to vote. The Texas proposal was based on a similar law enacted by the Indiana legislature, which the US Supreme Court upheld in 2008.

As Smith noted, "This attempt to override commonsense voter ID laws underscore's the administration's disregard for states' rights under the Constitution."

Smith's report also addresses blocking Congressional inquiries, particularly US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's involvement in Obamacare; refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, enacted in 1996; and ignoring the Constitution's Limited Recess Appointment Power.
"The Justice Department has a responsibility to enforce the laws of the land and protect the Constitution," Smith said. "Of all federal agencies, the Justice Department should not be motivated by a partisan agenda. Unfortunately, under this Administration, the Justice Department has become more partisan than ever."

According to Smith, the Obama administration has ignored the constitutional balance of power between co-equal branches of government and blocked investigations of its actions. "When the administration doesn't like a law, they refuse to enforce it," Smith said. "And if the Senate's constitutional authority to approve political appointees gets in their way, the administration ignores the Constitution.

"All government officials are bound by the limits of the Constitution and the rule of law, including the President and the Attorney General.

Unfortunately, this Administration continues to put a partisan agenda ahead of the Constitution and the rule of law."

A summary and full copy of the report can be found on the House Judiciary Committee at

http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/issues_Reports.html.


Pictured: Congressman Lamar Smith, right, accompanied by Mike Asmus, regional director of Smith's San Antonio office, greeted Courier publisher Gail Joiner on May 2.