The Obama Watch

Eric Holder’s Arizona

Selective law enforcement backfires.

By 2.27.14

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Eric Holder’s liberal chickens are coming home to roost in Arizona. And in a West Hollywood gay bar. The Los Angeles Times is helping. While a Harvard student demands an end to academic freedom. All of this in the name of the religion of liberalism.

Let’s start with the attorney general of the United States, who has made it abundantly clear that a state attorney general who doesn’t like his or her state’s gay marriage law doesn’t have to enforce it.

Fox News reported Holder’s decision this way:

Attorney General Eric Holder has given the nod to his state counterparts that they do not have to defend laws against constitutional court challenges if they consider them discriminatory — effectively giving the green light for states to stop defending bans on gay marriage.

This comes on the heels of repeated Obama Administration decisions not to obey laws enacted by Congress and signed by the president — including the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the administration’s own Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.

Then there’s the case of the West Hollywood gay bar, the Abbey Food and Bar by name, run by one David Cooley. While Arizona thinks of allowing its citizens the right not to serve gays because of their religion, Mr. Cooley has already claimed the right to refuse service to those, who in his view, have voted for “discrimination” against gays. Says Mr. Cooley as reported by the local Los Angeles CBS station:

“I want to send a message to all those people out there who conflate Christian values with discrimination: we don’t want your kind here,” Cooley said. “I’ve learned that I can’t stop crazy, ignorant or stupid, but I can stop it from coming through my doors.”

The move isn’t the first time The Abbey has waded into state politics: when gay marriage was still illegal in California in May 2012, the bar announced a ban on all bachelorette parties, which it called an “offensive heterosexual tradition that flaunts marriage inequality.”

Has Eric Holder’s Justice Department moved in on Mr. Cooley? The California Attorney General? The Los Angeles District Attorney? Are you kidding? Not a prayer. Apple is threatening to withdraw from building a plant in Arizona over this kerfuffle — but apparently has no problem with California authorities allowing Mr. Cooley to openly discriminate. Apple will keep its California operations in place. The NFL is threatening to remove an upcoming Super Bowl from Arizona — but gives California’s intolerance a pass. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer took a long look at all this confusion and last night vetoed the controversial Arizona Senate bill that launched this latest round of national madness.

Mr. Cooley has created his own personal Arizona and there’s not a peep of opposition to it.

Then there’s the Los Angeles Times. The paper’s letters editor, one Paul Thornton, wrote this jewel last fall, saying that in the name of fighting “factual inaccuracy” he had decided the liberal paper will no longer print letters to the editor from what he calls “climate change deniers.” Of course, it takes only seconds to find out that it is Thornton who is “factually inaccurate.” As here in this detailed article at Forbes, which goes on at length about duly qualified scientists who believe the climate change gospel is completely wrong. Reports Forbes:

Since 1998, more than 31,000 American scientists from diverse climate-related disciplines, including more than 9,000 with Ph.Ds., have signed a public petition announcing their belief that "…there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate." Included are atmospheric physicists, botanists, geologists, oceanographers, and meteorologists.

Forbes goes out of its way to nail down just where this endlessly repeated business of a “consensus” among “98%” of climate scientists comes from, and easily debunks it — something one would think the Los Angeles Times would be easily set up to do if interested, which the paper clearly is not.

Over here, Newsmax reports:

More than 1,000 dissenting scientists from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.

A new Climate Depot special report, “More Than 1,000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims,” features the skeptical voices of many current and former U.N. IPCC scientists who have now turned against the U.N. IPCC. The new report adds more than 300 scientists to the previous report in March 2009.

The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grew louder in 2010, as the Climategate scandal, which involved the upper echelon of U.N. IPCC scientists, grew. "I view Climategate as science fraud, pure and simple," said noted Princeton physicist Robert Austin shortly after the scandal broke.

Does this make Thornton a “climate change cultist”?

So what do we have here?

What we have is a U.S. attorney general, a West Hollywood gay bar and a major American newspaper making plain that they will not uphold either their legal obligation to enforce the law and serve the public or the journalistic obligation to publish dissenting views because — well, they don’t feel like it. Go pound sand.

Into this mix comes news of Harvard senior Sandra Korn writing in the school’s paper the Crimson to demand an end to free speech. The Daily Caller reported on Korn as follows:

"If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals?” asked Korn in her column.

The column’s subtitle was even more direct: “Let’s give up on academic freedom in favor of justice."

Korn herself began her piece:

In July 1971, Harvard psychology professor Richard J. Herrnstein penned an article for Atlantic Monthly titled "I.Q." in which he endorsed the theories of UC Berkeley psychologist Arthur Jensen, who had claimed that intelligence is almost entirely hereditary and varies by race. Herrnstein further argued that because intelligence was hereditary, social programs intended to establish a more egalitarian society were futile—he wrote that "social standing [is] based to some extent on inherited differences among people."

When he returned to campus for fall semester 1971, Herrnstein was met by angry student activists. Harvard-Radcliffe Students for a Democratic Society protested his introductory psychology class with a bullhorn and leaflets. They tied up Herrnstein’s lectures with pointed questions about scientific racism. SDS even called for Harvard to fire Herrnstein, along with another of his colleagues, sociologist Christopher Jencks.

Herrnstein told the Crimson, “The attacks on me have not bothered me personally… What bothers me is this: something has happened at Harvard this year that makes it hazardous for a professor to teach certain kinds of views.” This, Herrnstein seems not to have understood, was precisely the goal of the SDS activists — they wanted to make the “certain kinds of views” they deemed racist and classist unwelcome on Harvard’s campus.

Hmmmm.

Now this sentiment — surprise, surprise — comes to Arizona.

Various Arizonans are demanding a version of the same “right” that Mr. Holder, Mr. Cooley of the West Hollywood bar and the Los Angeles Times are claiming. If these Arizonans don’t feel like providing various business services to gays because it violates their religious beliefs — or, to use Ms. Korn’s phrase, their sense of “justice” — then, in exactly the style of Mr. Holder, Mr. Cooley, the Los Angeles Times’ Mr. Thornton and Ms. Korn – tough noogies.

While Governor Brewer has now turned thumbs down on the idea, is it any wonder that Arizonans think they are entitled to practice, as it were, selective customer service? In precisely the same fashion Eric Holder practices selective law enforcement, Mr. Cooley openly practices discrimination against those who disagree with his politics (or is it his religion?), the Los Angeles Times practices selective journalism and Ms. Korn would practice selective speech? The Arizonans in question are saying that being forced to serve gays violates their religious beliefs. Mr. Holder says enforcing the law violates his sense of discrimination. Mr. Cooley is Arizona in reverse. Mr. Thornton refuses to print letters upholding a perfectly valid and well-documented scientific belief because it violates his personal belief in “factual accuracy.” Ms. Korn wants to go all the way and just overturn the First Amendment altogether.

It doesn’t take, as they say, a rocket scientist to see where this kind of thing is headed. Doubtless there are state attorney generals who disagree with Roe v. Wade and believe it to be the source of massive injustice, life-threatening discrimination against the unborn. So why should they bother to enforce a law they don’t like? In Mr. Thornton’s California, Governor Jerry Brown is in the news for easing crowded prisons by releasing a record number of “lifers.” What if, instead, a governor somewhere in America decided to deal with the same problem by simply taking it upon himself to execute “lifers” instead of releasing them? And what if some university student other than at Harvard decided in the name of what — “conservative justice”? — that all liberals should be banned from campus?

What we are seeing here with Mr. Holder, Mr. Cooley’s bar, the Los Angeles Times, Harvard’s Ms. Korn and now Arizona, is a rising sentiment that the law or journalism or anything else that was once subject to legal or professional rules no longer matters. You don’t like the law and you are charged with enforcing it? Then screw it. You want to ban those who disagree with you on gay marriage? Go to it. After all, if it’s OK for David Cooley, why isn’t OK for Arizona? You run a big city newspaper and you want to protect the liberal faith on global warming? Then screw the dissenters and the science behind those dissenters. (Maybe in that case an FCC “monitor” should be assigned to the Times?) You don’t like conservative speech? Then ban it. You live in Arizona and don’t want to provide customer service to this or that segment of the public? Too bad for those affected.

In other words, to cite Ms. Korn’s example, the SDS at Harvard did to Professor Herrnstein exactly what Arizonans are now proposing to do to gays. The SDS wanted to make “‘certain kinds of views’ they deemed racist and classist unwelcome on Harvard’s campus” — and today there are Arizonans who want to make gays — whom they apparently deem as immoral and sinful — unwelcome in their businesses. The players are changed, the principle is the same.

What Mr. Holder is unleashing here is a veritable epidemic of lawlessness.

The right of anybody and everybody to become the law unto themselves in the name of this or that tenet of the religion of liberalism.

In fact? This is the stuff of lynch mobs. If you don’t like the law — then just ignore it. If you disagree with a customer’s views — refuse to serve them. If you don’t approve of a political opinion — ban it from your paper. Or just maybe, do away with free speech altogether.

Is it any wonder that a group of African-American pastors have called for Mr. Holder’s impeachment for, as the Daily Mail notes above, “picking and choosing” what laws he will enforce.

Make no mistake. The Attorney General of the United States is setting an extraordinarily dangerous precedent. And what’s happening in Arizona, West Hollywood, the Los Angeles Times, and Harvard is only a taste of what’s to come.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.