More Persecutions Obama Style

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While President Obama runs around the world trying to make the Guinness Book of World Records for Presidential firsts, his administration continues to work what sure looks like a checklist of petty personal vindictiveness masked by misguided self –righteousness.

As if the targeted attack against Denis Hastert, Senator Robert Menendez and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to name a few were not wasteful and petty enough, now the Obama justice department is going after Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Duty to Uphold the Constitution

Members of the federal government, including Congress and the Executive Branch, are required to take an oath prior to assuming their offices. It states:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Most notably, government officials pledge to uphold the Constitution. Accordingly, they cannot pick and choose the laws they want to follow, as well as those they want to enforce.

In Mapp v. Ohio, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark wrote, “Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.”

The latest development in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is a report by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General found that the Presidential candidate use of a private email server to conduct official business violated the agency’s email and record-keeping policies. The report came on the heels of news that Clinton’s friend, Gov. McAuliffe, is also under investigation. The FBI and prosecutors from the Justice Department’s public integrity unit are allegedly looking into whether campaign donations violated federal laws.

The Clinton and McAuliffe investigations are only two examples. The Department of Justice (DOJ has also recently come under fire for its conduct in the Texas lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s Executive Order on immigration, a case which is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. According to U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, Justice Department lawyers intentionally misled him regarding the timeline for rolling out the policy changes. “The decision of the lawyers who apparently determined that these three-year renewals…were not covered by the Plaintiff States’ pleadings was clearly unreasonable,” he wrote. “The conduct of the lawyers who then covered up this decision was even worse.” Judge Hanen further added, “Such conduct is certainly not worthy of any department whose name includes the word ‘Justice.’”

Earlier in the President’s Administration, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) came under fire for allegedly targeting specific organizations for review based on their political affiliations. While the allegations turned out to be baseless, the resulting DOJ investigation revealed significant mismanagement. “Our investigation uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia, leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints,” the DOJ acknowledged. “But poor management is not a crime. We found no evidence that any IRS official acted on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.”

While reforming the justice department might not be a big issue in the Presidential campaign, it will be the new President’s most serious challenge.  Only strong, forceful judges and fearless, determined leadership can put this genie back in the bottle and put taxpayer money back at work protecting people rather than grabbing headlines and pursuing petty agendas.

Donald Scarinci is a managing partner at Lyndhurst, N.J. based law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck.  He is also the editor of the Constitutional Law Reporter and Government and Law blogs.