05.22.2013 1

Labor nominee Perez versus the rule of law

By Rick Manning

The idea that no man is above the law stands as one of the fundamental tenets of our nation.  The simple concept that the United States is a nation of laws and not men or women has been at the heart of equal protection under the law whether one is the President of the United States or a ranch hand living just outside Cheyenne, Wyoming.

President Obama’s nomination of Thomas Perez to become our nation’s next Secretary of Labor flies in the face of this basic principle.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky says that Mr. Perez has a, “…willingness, time and again, to bend or ignore the law and to misstate the facts in order to advance his far-left ideology lead me and others to conclude that he’d continue to do if he were confirmed.”

As America begins to grapple with the ramifications of an out of control I.R.S. and Justice Department, while attempting to unravel the cover up related to the attack on our consulate in Benghazi costing four American lives, the Senate needs to reject any Cabinet nominee with a background in stretching the law.

Perez, who currently serves as the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department has been at the center of controversy after controversy related to his perpetual stretching of the law and the truth.

The Inspector General of the Justice Department reports that Perez failed to testify truthfully before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights three years ago regarding the 2008 voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party.

Perez’ assertion that no political leadership at the U.S. Justice Department was involved in the decision to dismiss several defendants in that high profile case was contradicted by the IG who wrote that Perez’ testimony, “did not reflect the entire story regarding the involvement of political appointees.”

Perez also became embroiled in an ethical conduct controversy leading to a Congressional investigation by the joint staffs of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

The 2012 report provided details regarding Perez’ alleged deal between the Justice Department and the City of St. Paul, Minnesota.  The report explains that Perez pushed through an agreement that Justice would drop support for two whistleblower cases in exchange for St. Paul dropping a Supreme Court appeal of a case involving a legal theory that Perez was using to expand his power to file discrimination charges known as “disparate impact.“

The investigators explicitly condemn Perez’ actions stating, “Most fundamentally, the actions of the Department of Justice in facilitating and executing the quid pro quo with the City of St. Paul represent a tremendous disregard for the rule of law.

The report continues to explain, “Rather than allowing the Supreme Court to freely and impartially adjudicate an appeal that the Court had affirmatively chosen to hear, the Department – led by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez – openly worked to get the appeal off of the Court’s docket. Rather than allowing the normal intervention decision-making process to occur within the Civil Division, Assistant Attorney General Perez usurped the process to ensure his preferred course of action occurred.”

Later, the report reiterated, “Above all, however, the quid pro quo demonstrated that the Department of Justice, led by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, placed ideology over objectivity and politics over the rule of law.”

Thomas Perez, at one point earlier in his career explained his willingness to bend the rules beyond recognition to suit his political aims, unapologetically stating, “Sometimes you have to push the envelope.”

Perez’ belief that he is above the law is exactly why the Senate must reject his nomination.

The belief in the rule of law distinguishes Americans fundamental view of their government from that of most other countries around the world, and it is this expectation that has come under assault over the past few weeks.

It is for this exact reason, the Senate vote on Perez’ nomination is bigger than just another Cabinet nomination vote, it is about the question if the Senate is going to sanction and give power to some who looks at the letter of the law so cavalierly.

And it is why those Senators, regardless of political party, who truly believe in the rule of law cannot vote to promote Perez, a man who clearly believes that the law doesn’t apply to him.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the Vice President of Public Policy & Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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