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Holder Claims Vast Discretion In Enforcing Laws

From The Hill:

Holder claims ‘vast amount’ of discretion in enforcing federal laws

By Benjamin Goad | April 08, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder maintained Tuesday that he has a “vast amount” of discretion in how the Justice Department prosecutes federal law.

No kidding. But it’s no wonder that Holder Mr. feels that way, given the lead he is getting from Obama.

Holder’s remarks, during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, came in response to GOP accusations that he is flouting the law with his department’s positions on marijuana legalization, criminal sentencing and a contentious provision of the president’s signature healthcare law.

Leading the questioning was House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who asked Holder whether he believed there were any limits to the administration’s prosecutorial discretion.

“There is a vast amount of discretion that a president has — and, more specifically, that an attorney general has,” Holder responded.

Where is that written — in the Constitution or anywhere in our founding documents?

“But that discretion has to be used in an appropriate way so that your acting consistent with the aims of the statute but at the same time making sure that you are acting in a way that is consistent with our values, consistent with the Constitution and protecting the American people.” …

And nothing is more "consistent with the Constitution and protecting the American people" than ignoring our immigration laws.

Republicans on the panel argued, however, that the Obama administration has gone to unprecedented lengths in its liberal use of discretion on several fronts.

“All of this demonstrates a pattern on the part of the Obama administration to ignore or rewrite the very legislation that places limits on the executive branch authority, for purely political purposes,” Goodlatte said…

Well, at least someone in Congress is noticing. Now what are they going to do about it?

On Tuesday, Republicans also grilled Holder on the Obama administration’s decision not to interfere with marijuana legalization efforts in Colorado and elsewhere, as long as states establish adequate regulations. Goodlatte criticized the decision, saying it is tantamount to ignoring the law.

“The Justice Department’s decision not to enforce the Controlled Substances Act in states whose laws violate federal law is not a valid exercise of prosecutorial discretion, but a formal department-wide policy of selective non-enforcement of an Act of Congress,” Goodlatte said.

Holder countered that the DOJ was merely focusing on the most dangerous aspects of marijuana crime, such as trafficking or sales to minors. “We don’t prosecute every violation of federal law,” he said. “We don’t have the capacity to do that and so what we try to do is make determinations about how we use our limited resources.”

Under Holder’s “Smart on Crime” initiative, the DOJ has altered the charging policies with regard to mandatory minimum sentences for certain nonviolent, low-level drug crimes…

Because telling drug purchasers that they will never be prosecuted is really going to put the kibosh on drug dealers and nip drug trafficking in the bud. Yes, sir.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Holder Claims Vast Discretion In Enforcing Laws”

  1. Petronius

    Tigellinus-Holder: “what we try to do is make determinations about how we use our limited resources…”

    Some examples of DOJ’s uses of its limited resources:

    √ doubling down on attacks on religious liberty by filing appeals against the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Hosanna-Tabor case
    √ lawsuits brought against Hobby Lobby, the Mennonites, and Catholic hospitals and schools
    √ Fast & Furious and other attacks on the 2d Amendment
    √ intervening in the George Zimmerman case
    √ legal activism to block State immigration laws (AZ, AL, SC)
    √ threatening Immigration Judges who try to enforce immigration laws
    √ legal activism to block State voter ID laws (TX, SC, GA, NC)
    √ efforts to require battlefield Miranda warnings
    √ efforts to change venue for terrorists’ trials to Manhattan
    √ bringing lawsuits that attempt to avoid Supreme Court precedents regarding race-based preferences and disparate impact cases
    √ the James Rosen case

  2. mr_bill

    “But that discretion has to be used in an appropriate way so that your[sic] acting consistent with the aims of the statute but at the same time making sure that you are acting in a way that is consistent with our values, consistent with the Constitution and protecting the American people.”

    We have written laws because if government bureaucrats could substitute their “values” for the rule of law, the laws would become meaningless. Don’t they teach that in Lawyer 101 class? I wonder if Eric WithHolder can cite the Article and Section of the Constitution that says an attorney general should ignore the law and/or apply it inconsistently for political gainuse his discretion.

    • captstubby

      Jay Carnie ‏@weknowwhatsbest ·Apr 4
      By executive order, the president has uploaded the entire US Constitution to Wikipedia so it can be edited by everyone to their own liking.




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