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By Keith A. Fournier

5/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

No President, no United States Administration is above the Rule of Law.

The President of the United States regularly referred to the fact that he was a constitutional lawyer during both of his political campaigns. He was quite fond of references to the fact that he taught constitutional law. What is clear is that either this President was absent from his own classes when he addressed the First Amendment's Freedoms of Press, Association, Speech and the Free Exercise of Religion, or he simply has no respect for them.

Highlights

By Keith A. Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Benghazi, Justice Department, IRS, Internal Revenue Service, Tea Party, Conservative groups, Obama Administration, house of cards, Jay Carney, Rule of Law, Eric Holder, Subpoena, Keith A Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - I write as a private citizen, a constitutional lawyer and a deeply concerned American. I love this Nation. I still believe in its promise of liberty. Like most of you I have been watching the unfolding scandals which are engulfing this Administration with growing alarm.

Like most of you, I insist upon knowing what really happened on that fateful evening in Benghazi, Libya - and what really happened afterward. People died and someone lied. The only question is who lied and when. No-one is happy to make such an assertion. I certainly am not.

This evil terrorist act had nothing to do with a You Tube Video. It was perpetrated by Jihadists and we know it. This Administration knew it, early on, and concocted the entire story as a deflection. The question is why - and the American people have a right to an answer.

Like most of you, I insist upon a full explanation concerning the abuse of office committed by agents of the Internal Revenue Service. They engaged in a systematic and widespread pattern of viewpoint discrimination. There is no doubt that they singled out applicants for denial or delay of non-profit status based solely upon their political positions. That kind of action is unconstitutional and threatens our political order. 

As someone who obtained many such exemptions for legal clients over the years I know what is involved in the process. I also led several exempt organizations and know how it all works. There has always been a political side to the process. That is not the issue. This is about much more than an underling in the IRS denying an exemption. This is about a systemic abuse of power by the Internal Revenue Service. It strains credibility for representatives of the Obama Administration to claim they were unaware of it.  

Attorney General Holder's announcement on Tuesday that the Justice Department is undertaking an investigation of the IRS based upon this pattern and practice does not give me confidence. My doubts concerning their capacity to do so are enhanced by the news that the same Justice Department abused its own power in recent actions taken against reporters for the Associated Press.

We must insist upon a full accounting from Eric Holder and his Justice Department. His announcement on Tuesday that he had recused himself from the underlying matter is insufficient. The execution of a secret subpoena to obtain the phone records of AP reporters without any notification constitutes an unconstitutional abuse of power. It smacks of the tactics of a police state and not a democratic republic.   

If there is any silver lining in the cloud in these scandals, it is the fact that the Press has awakened to the serious nature of the tactics being used by this Administration. The questions posed to Presidential spokesman Jay Carney from reporters on both Monday and Tuesday, from media sources across the political spectrum, demonstrates that the sleeping giant has finally awakened. 

I watched Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney do a horrible job on Monday May 13, 2013 and Tuesday, May 14, 2013, as he tried to defend the Administration's handling of these scandals. It would have been pitiful to watch, if the stakes were not so high. But they are and it was more than pitiful. It was offensive.

The President of the United States - whom Carney represents in these briefings - regularly referred to the fact that he was a constitutional lawyer during both of his political campaigns. He was quite fond of references to the fact that he taught constitutional law.

What is clear is that either this President was absent from his own classes when he addressed the First Amendment's Freedoms of Press, Association, Speech and the Free Exercise of Religion, or he simply has no respect for them.

His administration does not abide by the safeguards to liberty required of all elected officials. It is not enough for the President to say he was not aware of any of it. He either was, and he is not telling us the truth, or he was not, and he is doing a very poor job of leading the Nation. 

Now, let me be clear - as President Obama likes to say so often. The issues at stake in the behavior of the State Department, the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department are serious and consequential. They may be criminal. That is not something I am happy to write. My concerns do not come from the fact that I disagree with this Administration over many fundamental issues. I do.

Rather, they come from the reality that we are talking about the United States Constitution. No President, no United States Administration is above the Rule of Law. Among the numerous idiomatic phrases we use in common speech is the phrase "a house of cards". It refers to a structure, organization or enterprise which is weak and can easily come undone.  Is the Scandal Ridden Obama Administration Becoming a House of Cards?

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