Every president, upon assumption of office, takes an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The president’s attorney general, serving as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, is charged with faithfully upholding those laws for the president. After three years of pursuing selective and politically charged “justice,” it’s time for President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to start following the law. If they refuse to do so, Congress must rein them in.
Under Eric Holder’s Justice Department, justice has not been blind. Attorney General Holder and his staff have chosen which laws to prosecute and which ones to ignore.
Holder has chosen to file lawsuits against states that pass voter ID laws — laws that are passed by duly elected legislators and are universally popular with the residents of those states. Yet, Holder has chosen to refrain from prosecuting the New Black Panthers, who engaged in flagrant acts of voter intimidation in 2010. Holder has chosen to prosecute states that enforce federal immigration laws passed by Congress, yet he refrains from prosecuting those localities that violate our immigration laws. As in the case of the raid on Gibson Guitars, Holder and his staff have invented tenuous justifications for pursuing people who donate to Republican politicians.
Let’s be honest. Holder’s pattern of “discretionary justice” is undermining our system of checks and balances. It was the intent of the Founders that each branch not act independently of the others, yet that is what we are seeing with the current Justice Department. Holder continues to ignore laws that have been duly passed by Congress, such as the Wire Act.
A few months ago, the Justice Department promulgated changes to the Wire Act under the cloak of night, thereby eliminating valuable tools used to crack down on foreign gambling. The Justice Department did this knowing full well that states do not have the ability to police the problem themselves. At the same time, the new rules also give states wide latitude to initiate online lotteries — a hidden tax on those who may not understand that government always stacks the deck against them. The main accomplishment of state lotteries thus far has been the expansion of the state at the expense of those who can’t do math, thanks in large part to substandard government-run schools.
It comes as no surprise that the online expansion of the lotteries was driven by President Obama’s political allies in the financially crippled states of Illinois and New York and that the first states to exploit this Wire Act change are Illinois and Delaware — oddly the president’s and vice president’s home states. A clear political payoff to cronies at the expense of taxpayers, kids and the Constitution. Under the new Justice Department rules, this vicious cycle will only spin faster.
Clearly it is time for Congress to reassert itself. It must challenge Eric Holder’s unilateral changes to the Wire Act and reassure the American people that no matter what administration is occupying the White House, its Justice Department will not be selective in which laws it enforces and which ones it ignores.
Drew Ryun is president of American Majority Action, an organization that promotes the free market, American individualism and engagement in the political process. For more on American Majority Action, please go to www.AmericanMajorityAction.org.