There may be more incompetent Attorneys General who have served Presidential administrations in U.S. History, but few if any of them have had a worse record than the present head of the Justice Department. And should the miraculous happen, and President Obama do the unthinkable, and cut taxes for small businesses, and thereby win re-election in 2012, I wouldn't expect to see Mr Holder make it to term number two.
In blunder after blunder the President has already repeatedly been forced to back away from the decision making at the Justice Department. But the trail of disasters has left legal litter for the administration to clean up in even more ways than they could have predicted.
Holder has overreached so many times people have begun to wonder if his arms were attached backwards at the joint.
Yet no over-reach will have been more embarrassing than the shellacking he is taking in the DOJ vs. the State of Arizona. If the early signals are indicative of the judge's final outcome I personally don't know how he survives in the administration.
Since the administration announced it would be suing the state of Arizona of its own rights to enforce the law within it's boundaries, legal scholars I've spoken with have by the dozens scratched their heads, and issued muted puzzled responses on what the clear legal strategy was for Holder to win. Evidently the judge in the case, Susan Bolton - a democratic appointee - had some of the same strange curiosities. She is openly questioning the grounds on which the government brought its case against state law SB 1070 - the non-controversial state law that allows the local police and sheriffs to assist federal authorities in determining the legal status of those coming into contact with the state.
As most of America now knows, SB 1070 maintains the same guidelines as federal immigration law, but goes one step further in toughness--against those in law enforcement. It clearly penalizes abuse of the statute by an entity attempting to racially profile with enforcement of it.
The DOJ under Eric Holder's direction is attempting to argue that the state law preempts federal law. The judge has openly, almost mockingly, poked holes in the thinking behind such a claim. Bolton has also openly wondered why the government should concern itself in any regard with a state's desire to be seen as hospitable or not.Since these two arguments seem to be the primary planks of Holder's case against Arizona, I expect this case to be dealt with quickly, and Holder to be again seen as the laughingstock or worse yet ruthless pragmatist he's come to be seen as in the legal community. I even have repeatedly told the students as much at the various Summit conferences I've been speaking to this summer.
Few reputable legal scholars believe Holder and the DOJ had a leg to stand on to begin with. Even Holder himself seemed to intimate that he might lose the case while being questioned on CBS two Sundays ago. Pledging that if he lost this first round he might find legal bearing to file a suit on the basis of racial profiling--an element the law itself strictly prohibits and prescribes penalties for in advance. Good luck there too genius.
It's been a rough go for the DOJ under Obama. Holder has on more than one occasion found himself back tracking, apologizing, and being left out in the cold to pay for everything from trying to bring the caged animals of Gitmo to New York City to stand trial, to (at the request of the NAACP) looking the other way when overt racism was used to intimidate and prevent voting--by members of the Black Panthers--an overtly racist group the equivalent of the KKK. He, according to multiple witnesses at the DOJ, has even gone so far as to implement a policy of non-pursuit of cases before the DOJ in which perpetrators are black and the victims are white.
But his ill-advised lawsuit against the statute in Arizona is now making him look incompetent or worse yet, incapable.
Repeatedly Holder presents viewpoints that are in keeping with his political aspirations but run contrary to the rule of existing law, and the position of Attorney General is not the spot for radicals with an agenda to implement best serve the country, or even the President himself. (Remember when Holder's crew took over custody of the Christmas day bomber, read Miranda rights, and watched the man with dangerous panties suddenly stop talking?)
Holder's overt racist policies at DOJ, his incompetence in actual legal matters, his sense of being completely out of touch with the people of his own nation add up to someone who needs an early retirement. For his racism, incompetence, and isolationist worldview begin to be attributed to his superiors if not kept in check. And thus far he has been anything but kept in check.
The ultimate failure of DOJ vs. Arizona will be yet another embarrassment for the Obama administration.
The question for the President will be, how many more of these laughingstock facials can be endured before he does what desperately needs to be done, put Holder to pasture?
My sense is, it won't be long.