Here Lies the DOJ
Cats aren't the only things with nine lives. As America's chief law enforcer, Eric Holder has dodged one career-killing controversy after another. But for once, the shocking allegations may finally be catching up with the President's loyal lightning rod--putting the Attorney General's invincibility to the ultimate test. He survived his role in the gun-running scheme Fast and Furious, trying terror suspects in civilian courts, failing his duty to defend federal marriage law, and being held in contempt of Congress--but whether Holder can outlast his latest scandal is tough to predict.
Things are finally starting to unravel for the AG, who is accused of lying under oath during his May 15 testimony on the DOJ's surveillance of Fox and AP reporters. Initially, Holder insisted that he had no knowledge of the agency's crackdown on Fox News journalist James Rosen. "With regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something I've ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy," Holder assured Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.).
Rosen, whose source is on trial for leaking classified security information, was singled out by the Justice Department for intense scrutiny as part of a three-year FBI investigation. Agents quietly seized his phone records and snooped through personal emails for a "lengthy period of time"--all under the auspice of rooting out Rosen's source. Turns out, that wasn't the only motivation.
While administration will try to duck the allegations, the smoking gun, NBC revealed, is that Holder actually approved the order to spy on Rosen. After NBC broke the story, agency officials admitted Friday (while the rest of America was out buying hamburgers and potato salad) that Eric Holder had, in fact, "personally vetted and approved a warrant" targeting Rosen as a "criminal co-conspirator" to gain access to his personal email. So not only did he have knowledge of the investigation, he authorized it! According to his own department, Holder's fingerprints are all over a probe he swore that he had never even heard of.
While the White House circles the wagons, Congress is moving quickly to launch an inquiry into Holder's possible perjury. And if the Attorney General did lie under oath--in what Jonathan Turley calls "the greatest attack on the free press in decades"--will it finally be enough to bounce Holder? Don't count on it, experts say, especially since the person President Obama has tapped to assess the DOJ's policy is none other than Eric Holder himself!
"Good to know," writes Townhall's Guy Benson. "And aren't you comforted that Holder has been tasked with reviewing... his own actions and 'reporting back' to his boss by mid-summer? Slate's Dave Weigel wins the day with this headline: 'Eric Holder Will Lead Investigation into Journalist Warrant That He Approved.'" If that isn't the perfect snapshot of this administration's corruption, I don't know what is.
Cheerleaders Vault Back into Spotlight with Appeal
Administrators in Kountze, Texas can't seem to take "yes" for an answer! Just week after a judge gave the green light to cheerleaders' Bible verse banners, the school district has decided to keep the fight alive. Taking the small community by surprise, Kountze Independent School District (ISD) attorney Tom Brandt is turning up the heat on the high schools' cheerleaders by reopening what many thought was a closed case.
In an interview with the local paper, Brandt says our friends at Liberty Institute, who are representing the athletes, are "reading into the court's decision rights that just aren't there." The lawsuit, which caught the attention of Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, pits the district against its own students.
Perhaps the most infuriating part of the case, at least for local families, is that the District is consciously funneling money away from education to fuel this gratuitous attack on faith. "It's unfortunate," said Liberty's Hiram Sasser, "that Kountze ISD keeps spending taxpayer money fighting against the speech rights of these cheerleaders. I don't understand why the school district cannot simply accept that it lost and move on..."
As too many schools know from experience, it costs money to defend religious liberty--and in Kountze, it costs money to assault it. For now, parents are right to be worried about the impact this litigation is having on children. Not only are administrators treating religion like something to be ashamed of, but they're fiercely working to eradicate it. While the rest of the world wonders how to cope with school shootings, suicides, teen pregnancy, and a whole host of moral corruption, Kountze leaders are actively chasing out the very thing that could help: faith.
In the meantime, these Texas students can take courage from their Christian friends in other states. Just this week, Kentucky's Jonathan Hardwick, Lincoln County High Class President, ignored the warnings of atheists and prayed during his graduation. Six students had lobbied the school to stop the prayer--unsuccessfully. To a huge burst of applause, Jonathan asked God to bless his class and watch over it. "Help us remember," he prayed, "no matter what happens good or bad in the days to come, that it is for your divine purpose. In Jesus's name. Amen." Now that's an appeal we can all get behind!
For Bachmann, the End of a Congressional Era
After an incredible run, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced that she's retiring from Congress at the end of her term. For eight years, she served more than the people of Minnesota--she served the families of America with her tireless stand for conservative values. A proud voice for life and marriage, Michele never shied away from a fight--and our movement is better for it. We wish her all the best as she closes out her distinguished Hill career and starts out on her next journey. In the meantime, join me in thanking a dear friend and fearless leader for all she's accomplished on behalf of faith, family, and freedom! We look forward to working with Michele in the House and wherever God calls her next.
** For more on the Holder scandal, click over to TonyPerkins.com for today's edition of "Washington Watch." Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a member of the same Judiciary Committee that the Attorney General may have misled, will drop by to offer his take. Also, Kelly Shackelford will fill us in on the latest developments in the case of the Kountze cheerleaders, whom Liberty Institute represents.
*** Also, don't miss Ken Klukowski's latest Breitbart columns--including his analysis of why the Justices snubbed an Indiana suit in "SCOTUS Denies Review in Planned Parenthood Funding Case." He also addresses the rumors about changes to the Senate's confirmation rules in "Obama's Agenda Depends on Packing the Courts."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.