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September 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: Obama

Editorial: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Says Sending Troops to Border “Reactive, Political Move”

mexico-border-signBy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PITTSBURGH — President Barack Obama’s decision to send 1,200 National Guard troops to bolster security along the porous U.S.-Mexico border should be seen for what it is — not a long-term solution but a reactive, political move that solves nothing over the long haul.

The context is the recently passed anti-illegal alien bill in Arizona, which unwisely thrust local police into a role for which most are not trained: helping enforce federal immigration law. As Gov. Jan Brewer said, her signing of the new law “clearly ignited the talk of action in Washington for the people of Arizona and other border states.”

Yes, but this action is all about the wrong sort of talk — to wit, answering the talk of the demagogues with a political sop. And in doing so, it further reduces the chances of a real conversation in Congress that looks beyond enforcement as the only solution and comprehensively addresses immigration reform in all its facets.

To read full editorial click here.

Senate Confirms U.S. Attorneys in Calif. and Louisiana

By Allan Lengel

The U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed Stephanie Finley for the U.S. Attorney post for the Western District of Louisiana and Laura Duffy for the top federal prosecutor post in the Southern District of California.

Duffy had been recommended by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the San Diego Union reported.  The website Main Justice, which closely tracks the U.S. Attorney appointments,  reported that the Senate has now confirmed 51 of President Obama’s U.S. Attorney nominees.

Justice Dept. Fights to Keep Rejected Pardons and Commutations Secret

shhhhBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, which vowed to have more transparency in government, is working very hard to keep some secrets.

At issue: The names of more than 9,200 people President George W. Bush denied pardons and commutations, the National Law Journal reports.

Last year, a D.C. federal judge ruled against the Obama Justice Department and said the names should be made public. The Justice Department has appealed that ruling, insisting the privacy interest of the applicants outweigh the public’s right to know.

“The case is a politically sensitive one for the Justice Department, given Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s involvement in the decision to pardon fugitive Marc Rich at the end of the Clinton administration,” the Journal wrote. “The Rich pardon turned into a Washington scandal that compelled Holder to apologize for mistakes when it came up during his confirmation hearing last year.

The Journal wrote that the case applies only to the Bush years, but could open up the door for the public to see applicants from other administrations.

Under the current policy, the Justice Department can confirm a specific pardon, but won’t comment on a list of denials, the Journal reported.

Since October 2009, Obama has received 382 pardon petitions and 2,275 applications for commutation, but none have been acted upon at this time, the Journal reported.

The Journal said the case was initiated by retired Washington Post reporter George Lardner, who is writing a book on the history of clemency.

To read more click here.

Let the Games Begin: President Officially Nominates Solicitor Gen. Elena Kagan for Supreme Court

kagan cnnBy Allan Lengel

Let the games begin.

With the smiling nominee flanked to his left, and his vice president to his right, President Obama on Monday morning announced the nomination of Solicitor General Elana Kagan for the Supreme Court.

Heaping superlatives upon superlatives, he called her a “superb” Solicitor General and said she embodies excellence and integrity.

She was the first woman to head up the Harvard Law School and the first female Solicitor General. It would be the first time in history three women were serving on the Supreme Court.

Some Republicans are anxious to grill her and scruitinize her liberal credentials.

So if you can’t afford to go on vacation in the earlier part of the summer, there should be plenty entertainment on C-Span as the hearings on her confirmation kick into high gear.

Kagan said she was honored to fill the seat of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who is retiring. She said she was sad her parents were not around to share her joy.


President’s Picks to Run TSA Keep Imploding After Running into Controversies

tsa_logoBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The attempted bombing on Christmas Day in Detroit was a reminder of the importance of airport security and the need for someone to lead the Transportation Security Administration under the Obama administration.

Problem is, the last two Presidential nominees have imploded on the administration.

Washington Post reporter Robert O’Harrow Jr. reported that the latest pick, Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert A. Harding, withcrew his name on Friday.

The paper reported that Harding had become “a federal contractor in 2001 after serving at the highest levels of military intelligence” and withdrew his name after being repeatedly question about his contract activities and “The Washington Post raised questions with the White House on Friday about his disabilities status.”

The Post reported that the “firm owned by the decorated general who withdrew his nomination to lead the Transportation Security Administration had received a consulting contract worth almost $100 million from the Army after certifying he was a “service disabled veteran,” according to documents and interviews with government officials.”

The White House had hoped Harding would solve its dilemma when the last nominee, ex-FBI agent Erroll Southers withdrew after controversy surfaced about him giving conflicting accounts to Congress about him accessing a federal data base as an FBI agent to get info about his ex-wife’s lover more two decades ago.

To read more click here.

Column: There’s Hope Obama Might Get 9/11 Trial Right With Military Commission

Steven Levin, a defense  attorney with the law firm Levin & Gallagher, is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney. Prior to that, he served on active duty for seven years in the United States Army as a defense counsel, an appellate attorney and a trial attorney.

Steve Levin

Steve Levin

By Steven Levin

Finally, there is hope that the Obama Administration will get it right.

In overruling the Attorney General’s short-sighted and misguided decision to send Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) to a civilian court in New York City, the White House will have acknowledged at least two things that those of us with military and federal government experience have long known.

First, the US Armed Forces has a proven history of fairly and effectively conducting military commissions. Second, the federal courts are not the optimal venue for trying alien enemy combatants who are captured while committing acts of war against our country.

By now, many of us are familiar with the long tradition of military commissions, which dates back to the 1780 trial of Major John Andre, who conspired with Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War.

Read more »

Administration Appears Confused Over 9/11 Trial: President to Get Involved

obama-and-biden1By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — You might not be wrong if you thought the administration is totally confused as to where to prosecute suspected mastermind of 9/11 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his co-defendants.

The Washington Post now reports that President Obama has decided “to insert himself into the debate” after he had asked Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. to pick the site.

The whole thing has turned into a political nightmare.

Previous reports indicated that the administration did a poor job of greasing the skids and building support in New York before announcing it planned to hold the trial there.

The political backlash has made the administration not only rethink the N.Y. location, but also whether to prosecute in civilian or military court,  the suspected terrorist Mohammed, who is often associated with a  photo in which he is having a very very bad hair day.

Holder told the Post he had not ruled out a trial in military court, though he said that is not what he would prefer.

“At the end of the day, wherever this case is tried, in whatever forum, what we have to ensure is that it’s done as transparently as possible and with adherence to all the rules,” Holder said, according to the Post. “If we do that, I’m not sure the location or even the forum is as important as what the world sees in that proceeding.”

To read more click here.

President Nominates 5 More U.S. Attorneys

Loretta Lynch/law firm photo
Loretta Lynch/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — With still plenty slots to fill nationwide, President Obama on Wednesday nominated lawyers for U.S. Attorney posts in Louisiana, West Virginia, Kentucky and New York, the website Main Justice reported.

The nominees, according to Main Justice, include Stephanie  Finley for the Western District of Louisiana;  R.  Booth  Goodwin for the Southern District of West Virginia; David Hale for the Western District of Kentucky; Kerry Harvey for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Loretta Lynch for the Eastern District of New York.