Cruz is right: Scandals show Obama & Holder's Constitutional contempt

The Obama administration’s handling of scandals paints a picture of disregard for the Constitution. Photo: LM Otero/AP Photos

LOS ANGELES, May 31, 2013 — Repeating that Obama has no respect for the Constitution has  Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) back in the crosshairs of liberals and progressives alike.

“Unfortunately, I think its part and parcel of a pattern from this administration of not respecting the Bill of Rights, not respecting the First Amendment, not respecting the Second Amendment, not respecting our Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights regarding drone strikes, regarding the IRS,” the Senator told Megyn Kelly on America Live.


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Sen. Cruz emphasized that it is not just a few unrelated incidents, but a disturbing pattern:

“Over and over again the pattern we have seen is an unfortunate willingness to use the machinery of the federal government as a tool and a partisan tool to punish those perceived as your political enemies.”

Certain journalists, politicians, and even conservative thinkers choose to fixate on the messenger: a Tea-Party Republican politico, and argue against, or dismiss the message because of this.

We need to look past Sen. Cruz’ label, and pay attention to the unfolding evidence in light of his words. These crop of scandals under the Obama administration do have this in common: Government agencies using bureaucratic power to disregard laws, trample on the liberties of Americans who they deem unfit for them, and deny appropriate protections afforded to all American citizens under the Constitution.


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Let’s take Sen. Cruz’ specific highlighting of the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments by actually reviewing the Amendments’ language against the scandals and missteps emanating from this Presidency.

First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The targeting of reporters by Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is a direct attack on freedom of the press. The seizure of the Associated Press’ phone records was the first indication of this.


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Now we are discovering that Fox’s chief White House correspondent James Rosen was specifically targeted and labeled as a “co-conspirator” allowing the DOJ to obtain a warrant for Rosen’s phone records, business and personal emails, and tracking the badge which gave him access to the White House and government offices.

Rosen was not notified that he was being investigated or tracked. According to Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker, the DOJ fought to keep the warrant for his personal emails secret. The DOJ literally “judge shopped” in order to get the result they wanted.

Two judges who took seriously their oath to uphold the law rejected this secretive access, but Holder found a judge who would play ball, Judge Royce C. Lamberth. Lamberth overturned those prior decisions allowing the DOJ to gain access.

Despite Holder’s denials that he had no knowledge of this targeting, records show that he personally approved the warrant.

Sharyl Attkisson, a CBS investigative reporter who has delved deeply into Benghazi, recently revealed on Philadelphia’s AM WPHT that she believes her business and personal computer systems have been compromised.

As more information on this scandal is revealed, it adds credence to the charge that this administration has a disregard for Constitutional rights.

Second Amendment

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Many gun owners are responsible citizens, and a May 2013 Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows a sharp decline in gun violence rather than an increase. Yet, responsible gun owners are being demonized, their whereabouts being exposed by certain media outlets, as the Obama administration seeks to erode Second Amendment rights.

President Obama has demagogued the Sandy Hook tragedy beyond what is appropriate. This tragedy would not have been prevented with tighter gun laws or registration. A mentally ill young man killed his mother, stole her guns, then murdered 27 innocent people, 20 of them children. The gunman did this in the state of Connecticut, which has some of the strictest laws in the nation.

The states that have the strictest laws (Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, California) seem to also be the ones that suffer the worst gun violence; so what does that tell us? We know exactly what we knew before Sandy Hook: criminals and the mentally ill don’t bother to follow gun control laws. It can also be argued that law-abiding citizens properly armed, have prevented these types of tragedies from occurring.

It is befuddling how President Obama can cry over the victims of Sandy Hook, yet barely shed a tear or speak to the hundreds of black children and men who die from gun violence on the streets of Chicago.

This selective outrage and policy making, along with the excessive demagoguery, gives more weight to Senator Cruz’ point.

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

We have already highlighted reporter James Rosen’s case in regard to the First Amendment. However, the unreasonable search and seizure not only involved his work concerns, but it infringed on his parentsrights as a private citizens.

According to Fox News and the Daily Caller, the DOJ’s monitoring extended to the home of James Rosen’s parents in Staten Island.

What happened to Texas businesswoman Catherine Engelbrecht and her organizations True the Vote and King Street Patriots shows more than overreach, more than a trampling of the Fourth Amendment, but a grinding of it into the ground.

Not only was True the Vote and King Street unfairly targeted on their applications for tax-exempt status, but Engelbrecht’s business was paid visits by the FBI, audited by the IRS, and subjected to surprise inspections from ATF and OSHA!

CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson and Kim Skeen report:

“Within months of the groups filing for tax-exempt status, Engelbrecht claims she started getting hit by an onslaught of harassment: six FBI domestic terrorism inquiries, an IRS visit, two IRS business audits, two IRS personal audits, and inspections of her equipment manufacturing company by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Texas environmental quality officials.”

Jillian Kay Melchior of National Review also did an extensive interview with Engelbrecht about this over the top harassment and Engelbrecht’s subsequent lawsuit. Whether the allegations of a coordinated government attack are proven true or not, the mere whiff of impropriety under this administration reinforces the pattern of disregard that Cruz alleges.

Fifth Amendment

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

This Amendment has been getting a lot of press because of Lois Lerner’s egregious attempt at “pleading the Fifth”. The other tenets of this Amendment have been all but tossed out the window in the Obama administration’s continued use of drones to target enemy combatants with U.S. citizens getting caught in the crossfire.

Bob Baumann of Sovereign Investor warns of the slippery slope of the use of drones, spotlighting President Obama’s and Atty. Gen. Holder’s weak justifications for their current use. Due Process and the rule of law has been thrown out the window time and again, because this administration feels justified in its aims to target enemies and citizens in this way, despite the consequences.

So in light of Sen. Cruz’s allegations and the evidence that confirms it, here is the question:

If the DOJ can go judge shopping in order to secretly investigate a reporter, and the IRS can choose to financially and logistically target groups to whom they disagree politically, what makes us think they won’t stop at blasting American citizens with drones for similar or arbitrary reasons?

Disregard of the laws and the Constitution in certain instances inevitably leads to disregard for the whole.

Forget the slippery slope: these scandals show we have already plunged down the rabbit hole.


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Jennifer Oliver O'Connell

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell is the "In My Orbit" columnist for Washington Times Communities, writes on Los Angeles Faith and Community for Examiner.com, teaches Yoga, and coaches on careers and reinvention.

You can keep up with what's in Jennifer's orbit through her As the Girl Turns website: (http://asthegirlturns.com).

Contact Jennifer Oliver O'Connell

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