SAN DIEGO, September 4, 2013 — The Obama administration, through Eric Holder’s Justice Department, is suing the state of Louisiana over vouchers. This lawsuit is indefensible on every level, including the moral argument for the suit, the constitutionality of the suit, and the timing of the suit.
This latest Obama-Holder collaboration will block a program that is helping families in poverty, many of whom are minorities. Ironically, concern for minorities is the stated purpose in taking action against Louisiana.
According to the DOJ, the program “impedes the desegregation progress” demanded by federal law.
Passed in 2012, Louisiana’s state-wide program promises a voucher to students from families with incomes below 250 percent of poverty line whose kids attend schools graded C or below. The vouchers can be used to attend other public and most private schools.
Ninety percent of children in Louisiana’s program are African-American. But Holder is keying in on the composition of the students in 22 of 34 districts that remain under desegregation orders from 50 years ago. During the 2012-13 school year, about 10 percent of voucher recipients came from those 22 districts.
“The voucher recipients were in the racial minority at the public school they attended before receiving the voucher,” DOJ says.
Translation: Seeing too few black students at a majority white school is a greater concern than providing the best education possible.
Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal expressed outrage at an Americans For Prosperity conference. “Eric Holder at the department of Justice is filing suit against the state of Louisiana now — listen to this — to force these children to go back to failing schools … What’s so atrocious is that Eric Holder, the Obama Department of Justice, (is) using the same rules intended to protect low-income children, intended to allow them to go to better schools, now wants to use those same rules to force these kids to go back to failing schools.”
Jindal speaks frankly and with perfect sense, something rare for a politician these days. Indeed, vouchers embrace the true spirit of integration. They level the playing field by allowing families an alternative to public schools, regardless of race, economic status, or geography.
While some public schools are better than others, a lot of parents feel they have a right to decide for themselves where and how to educate their own children. They view many of today’s public schools as academic failures and dangerous places where innocent kids are virtually thrown to the wolves.
Why should the President of the United States and his Attorney-General stand in the way of rescuing these children with a private school?
Governor Jindal weighs in with an answer:
“Because they are so beholden to the government unions … Can you believe that?”
The Wall Street Journal does believe that:
“Our guess — confirmed by sources in Louisiana — is that this lawsuit isn’t really about integration. It’s about helping the teachers union repeal the voucher law by any legal means, and the segregation gambit is the last one available. Justice gives this strategy away when it claims “jurisdiction over Louisiana” even for vouchers for students in districts without desegregation orders.”
The explanation makes sense. Teachers’ unions do not like vouchers, and teachers’ unions support the Democratic party. Democrats must stay in power after 2014 if Obama is going to continue recreating America in his own image.
There may be other motives as well. For all the 2008 rhetoric about candidate Obama being the perfect man to bring our country together, a divided America seems to fit President Obama’s purposes better. True integration and shared quality education reduces the “haves” and the “have nots.”
The Democratic party is stronger when Americans can be divided into black and white, rich and poor, male and female.
This lawsuit is also unconstitutional. The federal government is not allowed to interfere with individual states unless it can be proved that a certain state law violates our federal Constitution.
This doesn’t seem to make any difference to Obama. He treats the Constitution as little more than a suggestion box which CEO’s can consider or laugh at.
With the right judge on his side, Obama can at least do a quick photo op with the Constitution, hence, the wheels of his Louisiana lawsuit have been set into motion.
The outcome can easily go either way. If a judicial activist judge doesn’t like private schools, many parents will send their children back to the public schools. Louisiana’s only hope will be an appeal.
On the other hand, if the court actually reads federal and state constitutions instead of “interpreting” them, Obama and Holder will be stopped.
The stop will last for about five minutes. Obama will undoubtedly fall back on his default setting: Executive Order. Judges’ rulings are only the final word when they agree with him.
How does the president and his attorney general get away with end runs around the Constitution?
The timing is everything. With so many outrageous foreign and domestic decisions in the news, coupled with investigations that Obama likes to call “phony scandals,” the strategy seems to be that of doubling down and hoping the country will simply grow numb to an administration that does whatever it pleases.
The Louisiana lawsuit is not a secret, but few major news outlets are talking much about it.
Ken Shepherd of Newsbusters finds this disturbing. “A search of Nexis found no stories about this lawsuit by any of the Big Three broadcast networks. The story was completely omitted from the pages of The New York Times, and Sunday’s Washington Post only briefly covered it by running a short AP news brief on page A3.”
In the midst of one Obama news item after another, the media must prioritize. Obama can usually count on the liberal media selecting news stories in a way that benefits him.
On the other hand, it would be difficult for any news outlet, liberal or otherwise, to not view Syria as the headline story right now. Obama’s advisers may have calculated that the middle of a current foreign crisis is the perfect time to move forward with a little extra mischief.
Even when a few reporters do cover the Louisiana lawsuit, others are busy covering the Texas lawsuit where Obama and Holder are trying to block voter I.D.
Both the Texas and Louisiana stories must be shared with Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, and so many other issues that nobody can keep up with them all.
All of this helps Obama to stay off the radar of media outrage by using his parallel controversies as camouflage. If successful in Lousiana, he’ll brag to liberals about the result, hoping everybody forgot the illegal way he got there.
The strategy is working but only with an ironic casualty; the very title of Obama’s partner in politics, Department of Justice.
The Department of Justice has turned “justice” into a traditional but no longer meaningful word.
It’s going the direction of another title, Motel 6, so named because once upon a time their rooms actually went for six dollars.
The explanation won’t be so easy when future school teachers have to explain to their students what the word “justice” once meant and why it is included in a federal government title. That will be a challenge for public and private schools alike.
As a final note, we should note that President Obama and Holder don’t dislike all private schools; they send their own children to private schools.
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious, obvious.
Many of the facts and statistics found in this article are courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.
Bob Siegel is a radio talk show host and columnist. Information about his radio show can be found at bobsiegel.net.
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