The chairman of House Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith (R-Texas),
grilled Attorney General Holder at the hearing in Washington, D.C.
about whether White House officials were aware of the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF's) Operation Fast &
Furious, which contributed to the shooting death of Border Patrol
Agent Brian Terry.
The Attorney General appeared before the House Judiciary Committee
for an oversight hearing on the Justice Departmentís activities.
Outstanding questions surrounding the controversial ATF operation
that allowed guns to be purchased in the U.S. and trafficked to
Mexico dominated the Committeeís discussion.
ďFor the past three and half years, this Administration has engaged
in a pattern of obstructionism, unaccountability, and partisanship.
The Administrationís actions arenít just wrong--they are arrogant,
undemocratic, and an insult to the rule of law. The American people
should have confidence that the Department of Justice fairly
enforces laws. That confidence is lacking today,Ē said Rep. Smith.
In April, Chairman Smith issued a report on the Justice Departmentís
disregard for the Constitution and rule of law.
"The report outlines high profile examples of how the Justice
Department has ignored the Constitution in order to impose the
Administrationís partisan agenda on the American people. From
blocking investigations of Operation Fast & Furious and Justice
Elena Kaganís involvement in Obamacare to refusing to enforce and
defend certain laws, the Attorney General has allowed a partisan
agenda to guide the Justice Departmentís decisions," said Chairman
Congressional Republicans and their investigators have been
probing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives'
(ATF's) Fast and Furious "Gunwalker" scandal. Oversight Committee
Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has been openly vocal about seeking a
contempt citation against Holder.
The Oversight Committee's contempt resolution will require a full
House vote and, if it passes, the Congressmen would probably look to
the federal courts to enforce the citation.
Sources claim that Republican House staffers have moved slowly
in building their case and in creating the motion to hold the
Attorney General in contempt of Congress.
ďAll government officials are bound by the limits of the
Constitution and the rule of law, including the President and
the Attorney General. Unfortunately, this Administration
continues to put a partisan agenda ahead of the Constitution and
the rule of law,Ē Congressman Issa said.
The high profile examples currently under investigation are:
Stalling Investigation of Operation Fast & Furious; Failing to
Enforce Immigration Laws; Challenging Voter ID Laws; Blocking
Refusing to Defend the Defense of Marriage Act; Ignoring the
Constitutionís Limited Recess Appointment Power.
"Beginning with the Attorney General's refusal to prosecute
members of the radical group the New Black Panther Party for
their flagrant voter intimidation during the 2008 presidential
election right through to the recent DOJ ignoring of the Black
Panthers placing a bounty on the head of Robert Zimmerman, the
suspect in the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, the
Justice Department has walked a thin line between disinterest
and racism," said former police lieutenant George Harley,
himself an African American police official.
"Of all agencies in the federal government, the Justice
Department, because of the great power it holds over Americansí
Constitutional rights, should not impose their own partisan
agenda. Unfortunately, under the Obama Administration, the
Justice Department has become more partisan than ever," the
"Rather than fulfilling the Attorney Generalís oath to 'support
and defend the Constitution of the United States' and the
Presidentís Constitutional responsibility to 'take care that the
laws be faithfully executed,' the Justice Department in the
Obama Administration, under the leadership of Attorney General
Eric H. Holder, Jr., has repeatedly put its partisan agenda
ahead of its Constitutional duties. The pattern of pushing
partisan ideology rather than neutrally enforcing the law began
nearly as soon as the Administration took office and has
continued unabated since," according to the committee report.