An amicus brief, submitted last week and filed yesterday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit by the American Center for Law and Justice, argues “that the court has proper jurisdiction” in a lawsuit filed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to compel Attorney General Eric Holder to turn over subpoenaed documents, and that a move by the Justice Department to dismiss the case on those grounds should not keep it from moving forward.
The brief, submitted last Wednesday by Jay Sekulow, ACLJ’s chief counsel, states “At stake here is Congress’s constitutional authority to investigate an egregious federal program in which the Department of Justice intentionally permitted guns to be illegally obtained and sold to Mexican drug cartels (Operation Fast and Furious), and then obstructed Congress’s efforts to obtain key information about the Operation.
“This Court clearly has jurisdiction in this case, and contrary to Defendant’s claims, judicial abstention would do far greater injury to the separation of powers than permitting the Executive to continue its intransigent opposition to Congress’s constitutional role,” the brief maintains.
Whether this filing will have an impact on the case is uncertain amidst reports that the Republicans and Justice are in negotiations to settle the suit.
“While far from certain, a settlement would bring a quiet end to a political furor that stirred the passions of gun owners, ended some Justice Department careers and led Republicans to find U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt,” Reuters reported today.
What is certain, although beyond the ken of those who think such things can be swept under a rug, is that ultimately, if justice is to be served, the “end” cannot be “quiet.” Very real crimes have been committed and very real people have been killed. Any final “settlement” that does not take that into account, and provide for a reckoning with legal consequences, will not be accepted by a core of citizen activists, whistleblowers and survivors demanding nothing less.
Anyone who believes their concerns can just be ignored is risking much more than a mere furious political backlash – such a move would do nothing less than destroy any “rule of law” illusions the government is relying on to convince the disaffected that the justice system, which protects them as much as, if not more than it protects “us,” still works.