[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
Update: It’s not germane to the post, but on appeal Acorn lost. You can read the opinion, here.
Just this morning we saw a stay granted in Judge Feldman’s decision invalidating the drilling moratorium. Let’s not forget that the original decision came down in June, 2010, which meant that the Obama administration should have been reviewing and granting permits in that time. They didn’t. Further, they were held in contempt back in February, and were later ordered to get off their keisters and move on the permits. From an article on when the judge held them in contempt:
The Obama Administration acted in contempt by continuing its deepwater-drilling moratorium after the policy was struck down, a New Orleans judge ruled.
Interior Department regulators acted with “determined disregard” by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling, following the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman of New Orleans ruled yesterday.
“Each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance,” Feldman said in the ruling.
“Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the re-imposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium, and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this court with clear and convincing evidence of the government’s contempt,” Feldman said.
Likewise, in the Florida Obamacare case Judge Vinson experienced similar frustration, writing in his recent clarification:
For the defendants to suggest that they were entitled (or that in the weeks after my order was issued they thought they might be entitled) to basically ignore my declaratory judgment until “after appellate review is exhausted” is unsupported in the law.
I should note that I missed this the first time I read the decision, but you might remember that I accused the administration of making a “wholly deceptive” argument when trying to claim that the law doesn’t allow a single District Court Judge to halt enforcement of the law. Well, in footnote five of the opinion, Judge Vinson writes the following, in discussing the exact same argument:
The defendants’ selective quoting from those cases — to suggest that the federal government may simply ignore a declaratory judgment by a district court until the appeals process has fully run its course — borders on misrepresentation
Which is about as close as Judge Vinson is likely to get to calling the federal lawyers liars. So apparently Judge Vinson is cribbing off of me, too! (Kidding.)
Also he later said in his opinion:
The plaintiffs have contended that the defendants did not actually need any of the above clarification as they were not really confused by, or unsure of, the effect of my order and judgment. They have suggested that if the defendants had truly believed there was any uncertainty or ambiguity, they would have immediately sought clarification rather than continuing to move forward with implementing the Act as if nothing had happened.
So we are seeing a certain pattern of resistance of judicial decisions. Oh, but you know how the song goes: one of these is not like the others… Compare and contrast their treatment of the Defund Acorn Act. As you know Congress passed a law in the wake of the O’Keefe sting videos cutting off all funding to Acorn. Acorn attacked the law in court, claiming it was an unlawful Bill of Attainder and despite the speciousness of their argument, they won. So surely Obama dragged his feet in enforcing that decision, right? Surely the same DOJ that told Judge Vinson that one judge had no right to stop federal enforcement of a law, even with respect to the parties before him, until appellate review was exhausted—going as far as to so twist the case law that it “border[ed] on misrepresentation”—surely they were not going to roll over and enforce this ridiculous ruling in favor of Acorn, right? Right?
You know that’s a rhetorical question, right?
President Obama has quietly moved behind the scenes to restore full funding to the radical group ACORN, which was his former employer and legal client.
In a move ignored by the media, OMB director Peter Orszag circulated a directive to federal agencies ordering them to begin funding ACORN again. ACORN is the hyperpartisan lead group in the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) coalition and has long supported a government takeover of the U.S. health care system.
The fiscal floodgates will soon re-open for ACORN despite a congressional ban on funding the activist group that has long been a practitioner of election fraud.
In a March 16 memo Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Peter Orszag ordered federal agencies to resume funding the group whose employees were caught on hidden camera videos last year condoning and encouraging a variety of crimes including child prostitution and tax evasion.
The memo came a week after renegade federal judge Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York made permanent her temporary injunction prohibiting Congress from cutting off funding for ACORN. The memo also came despite the fact that the Department of Justice is planning to appeal Gershon’s ruling and seek a stay pending appeal.
(Source.) Now as indicated by the Orszag memo itself, when the stay was granted they stopped the flow of money. But what we didn’t see, and we did see with the drilling moratorium and the Florida Obamacare ruling, was the federal agencies acting in contempt of that rulings, of refusing to enforce a judge’s ruling even before a stay was granted. Seriously, read the memo itself and the difference is like day and night.
And that contrast in behavior is indefensible. If they were always resistant, then you could maybe tease out some sort of principle behind all of this—that perhaps they truly feel that one judge should not be able to gum up the entire legal works. That wouldn’t be what the law said, but I could see that as a defensible principle and at one time the law didn’t allow one judge to gum up the works. But their inconsistent behavior makes it clear what is happening. They are dragging their feet, but only where they don’t like the law. And that is wrong.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]