A federal judge handed the Obama Administration yet another loss yesterday in the congressional lawsuit to get the truth behind the Fast and Furious fiasco that permitted the illegal sales of guns in order to track the sellers and purchasers.
Fast and Furious is yet another example of the Obama Administration’s many scandals stemming from unconstitutional and lawless Executive overreach. Yet this scandal cost lives, and the Obama Administration has been in cover-up mode for years to hide the truth about the reckless gunrunning Operation Fast and Furious.
Now a federal court is forcing the Obama Administration to turn over key documents to Congress as we learn more disturbing information about just how dangerous this ill-advised Obama Administration operation really was.
In Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) tried to smuggle about 2,000 guns into Mexico to be distributed to drug cartels so they could then lead to the arrest and prosecution of criminals. Recklessly planned and executed from the start, the guns ended up being used by vicious criminals, connected with the death of Brian Terry, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent killed in Arizona in December 2010, a Mexican police chief, and others. Recently, a Fast and Furious rifle capable of taking down a helicopter was even found in the compound of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Our Constitution is designed to help bring about justice and accountability in situations like this. Congress took action and began investigating this tragic scandal. Because the Obama Administration refused to come forth with documents and answers, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform filed a lawsuit in federal district court to get to the bottom of why the DOJ refused to provide the truth to Congress in its investigation.
Over 80,000 concerned Americans signed our petition demanding justice and the truth. We aggressively fought in Congress and in the media to highlight the legal issues surrounding this case, and the ACLJ filed a critical amicus brief at the Motion to Dismiss stage of this litigation.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, ruled yesterday that the Obama Administration cannot assert executive privilege to deny Congress critical documents about the Fast and Furious scandal because they had already revealed so much.
Furthermore, there is no need to balance the need against the impact that the revelation of any record could have on candor in future executive decision making, since any harm that might flow from the public revelation of the deliberations at issue here has already been self-inflicted: the emails and memoranda that are responsive to the subpoena were described in detail in a report by the Department of Justice Inspector General that has already been released to the public.
According to court records, 10,446 documents were completely or partially withheld, and 5,342 of those were withheld based on claims of executive privilege—meaning they couldn’t be turned over because it would harm the president’s ability to deliberate privately with his staff. . . .
Judge Berman gave the administration until Feb. 2 to turn over the records. The ruling can be appealed.
Also among the items withheld were 3,041 documents that were deemed law-enforcement sensitive; 1,351 for privacy reasons; and more than 700 for other or unrelated reasons. The judge ruled that the government may continue to withhold some information for law-enforcement reasons.
Time after time, federal courts continue to remind President Obama of what our Constitution and law truly say, stopping his lawless Executive overreach that defies our Constitution and, in the case of Fast and Furious, even endangers lives.
We will continue working to expose this scandal and seek accountability as part of our multipronged legal strategy to hold this Administration accountable for its lawless actions.
This is why we are preparing a vital amicus brief to defend the Constitution and the Separation of Powers once again in United States v. Texas and defeat the Obama Administration’s unilateral rewriting of our immigration laws at the Supreme Court
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. He is an accomplished Supreme Court advocate, renowned expert on religious liberty, a number 1 New York Times-bestselling author, and a respected broadcaster. Jay Sekulow is an attorney with a passion for protecting religious liberty – freedom – democracy.
Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.