Independence 'born' with lawsuit against bureaucrats
The headline at The Hill reads: Obama dares GOP: 'Sue me'
I’ve heard those words from some government bureaucrats when I’ve pointed out that they were violating the very laws that they were enforcing, and violating the Constitution. Many government bureaucrats, mind you, are not contemptuous and arrogant. Enough are, however, and share President Obama’s mindset because they are mostly out of reach of the consequences of the law.
As I recently wrote in “How to control the IRS and America’s untouchable caste of bureaucrats,” “Too many government bureaucrats believe that they are not merely above the law, but that they are the law. They are smug because they are beyond the reach of real consequences.”
President Obama’s arrogance about his lawlessness is the open reflection of what too many bureaucrats do with less notoriety, and why Americans need new laws to hold bureaucrats accountable through personal liability.
In the IRS scandal, for example, there are criminal violations within the IRS that Eric Holder will not pursue. The Internal Revenue Code provides civil remedies for some people who have been victimized by the IRS, but they are weak and need to be strengthened as circumstances now prove.
Private lawsuits against the IRS and some law-breaking officials, however, are having positive effect, and are certainly doing more than the Department of Justice to hold the government accountable.
Lawsuits by the National Organization of Marriage (NOM), True the Vote, J Street, Inc., Judicial Watch and various Tea Party organizations are achieving some success, certainly more than the derelict-in-duty Holder.
NOM settled a case in which its donors were illegally disclosed, and will receive $50,000. That’s taxpayer money. The law-breaking officials within the IRS feel no pain in that, and that too must change with legislation authorizing personal liability
True the Vote will have a July 11 hearing in U.S. District Court on its motion for expedited discovery seeking answers to why IRS emails and backup systems were destroyed even after the IRS was under a legal duty to preserve the evidence.
Arthur Andersen was the world’s largest accounting firm before it went out of business after being convicted at the hands of the Justice Department of destroying evidence in the Enron affair, and 85,000 employees lost their jobs. The Supreme Court later reversed the conviction, but it was too late.
The Justice Department is now defending the IRS in the True the Vote litigation, and according to the True the Vote motion has taken this sanctionable and sanity-defying position:
“When the parties met and conferred with respect to the relief sought by True the Vote, counsel for the IRS contended that the pendency of its motion to dismiss meant that what True the Vote seeks to preserve and restore is not ‘evidence.’”
These private lawsuits are helping expose the law-breaking in just this one bureaucracy, and Republicans in Congress and within the states should file more serious remedies legislation immediately -- to save the country.
This country began with citizens having private causes of action against federal and state bureaucrats who violated the common law or exceeded their legal authority -- what is known as ultra vires acts -- which is unlawful.
Lord Halifax, for example, lost more money in lawsuits for trespass than he ever collected under the Stamp Act.
Sometimes citizens win a larger principle even in losing lawsuits against the government. In 1761 James Otis litigated against the Writs of Assistance. He argued brilliantly against these instruments of arbitrary power as destructive of liberty and the fundamental principles of law.
Otis lost the case, but his articulation of how the law should limit government is a landmark event. As a result of this lost case, we now have the Fourth Amendment.
The day Otis argued the case, a younger lawyer named John Adams was sitting in the courtroom. Adams, of course, would later be one of the most influential drivers for the Declaration of Independence.
Of James Otis’ argument that day, Adams would later say, “There and then, the child of Independence was born.”