Litman: The GOP wants to burn down the Justice Department and replace it with a commission of “honest conservative bureaucrats.”
By David Litman
The Wall Street Journal’s “Culture Wars” section last week published an article by Daniel Horowitz, a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, titled, “A Bad President Can Destroy a Bad Justice Department,” which focused on the Obama Administration’s recent push to reduce or eliminate the federal role in policing civil rights and other civil liberties concerns. Obama officials have made their case to Congress that the Department of Justice needs to be downsized because it has been too heavy-handed in enforcing federal laws against the worst abuses of private businesses, and also because it has been too sympathetic towards businesses that violate their own customers’ civil rights.
Although the Justice Department has been criticized for pursuing unpopular cases against corporations and business practices, the agency’s record on civil rights and civil liberties is far from perfect. While the Obama Administration has consistently acted in the public interest, it has also consistently moved to reverse civil rights and civil liberties protections that have been adopted by the courts and state legislatures.
In fact, the DOJ has been on a mission to undo civil rights and civil liberties protections that the court and the state legislatures have enacted. For example, the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down state laws prohibiting business establishment of discrimination against gays and lesbians. State laws prohibiting businesses from discriminating against religious believers have also been struck down by the Supreme Court, too.
In other words, the DOJ has been on a mission to overturn laws and protections that have been enacted by Congress, the courts and the state legislatures.
In the wake of the high court’s decision in the case of Hobby Lobby, the president’s campaign promise, “to defend Americans’ religious liberty,” Obama has been seeking to cut the Department’s civil