Just exactly who is running the Justice Department? That question is at the center of a number of Judicial Watch investigations.
Most recently, on June 1, 2012, JW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) to obtain records detailing the agency’s communications with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). At issue is Pennsylvania House Bill 934, commonly referred to as Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law. The ACLU and allied organizations have filed a lawsuit to prevent the law, signed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett on March 14, 2012, from taking effect.
So did the Obama Justice Department work hand-in-hand with the ACLU to block this legislation? That’s what we intend to find out.
Here’s what we’re after, pursuant to our original March 30, 2012, FOIA request with the DOJ:
All records of communications between the Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) concerning, regarding, or relating to Pennsylvania House Bill 934, commonly referred to as Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law. The timeframe for this request is May 1, 2012 to March 30, 2012.
According to United States Postal Service records, the Obama Justice Department received Judicial Watch’s request on April 5, 2012. However, to date, the agency has failed to comply. By law a response was due no later than May 17, 2012.
Pennsylvania House Bill 934 is a common sense piece of legislation that simply requires voters to produce a Pennsylvania driver’s license or another government-issued photo ID, such as a U.S. passport, military ID, or county/municipal employee ID.
Judicial Watch Attorney Michael Bekesha testified on March 21, 2011, before the State Government Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Bekesha testified that the bill was a good way for Pennsylvania “to ensur[e] fair elections for its citizens.” Michael also testified that the bill followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s specifications. Bekesha’s testimony can be read here.
But, as reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on May 1, 2012, so-called “civil rights” groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit to prevent Pennsylvania’s voter ID law from taking effect before the November elections. (The trial is scheduled to begin on July 25, 2012.)
Now if there is collusion going on between the Obama Justice Department and the ACLU behind closed doors, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
As you may recall, Judicial Watch previously obtained documents from the Obama Justice Department showing that the agency worked with the ACLU to mount their respective legal challenges to SB 1070, Arizona’s illegal immigration enforcement law that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
This is not how it’s supposed to work.
The Obama Justice Department is supposed to be an independent arbiter of justice, not a legal battering ram for leftist special interest groups. I have to say, it is becoming difficult to determine where activist groups such as the ACLU begin and the Obama Justice Department ends. We hope (but do not expect) the Justice Department will abide by FOIA law and release these records immediately. That’s why we’re in court.
As you well know if you’ve been reading this space, Judicial Watch has uncovered documents showing that the Obama DOJhas also been partnering with the ACORN-connected Project Vote, President Obama’s former employer, to use the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to increase voter registrations for those on public assistance, which is a key Obama voter demographic, while ignoring a stipulation in the NVRA that requires states to keep voter registration lists clean.
The results: a sharp increase in the number of fraudulent voter registrations, raising the prospect of chaos on Election Day. Just the way the Obama gang wants it.
And as if this two-pronged strategy to abuse the NVRA were not enough, when states do take actions to clean up voter registration rolls, they get hammered by Justice Department lawyers. The DOJ has already filed lawsuits against Texas and South Carolina over their voter ID laws.
And now it’s taking aim at Florida.