January 6, 2009 |
President-elect Barack Obama on Monday named four former Clinton administration officials as part of his new team at the Justice Department, tapping Harvard Law School's dean, Elena Kagan, to become the first female solicitor general and Dawn Johnsen, a critic of Bush administration torture memos, to head the Office of Legal Counsel. David Ogden, who headed the Obama transition team for the Justice Department, was nominated to be deputy attorney general.
June 1, 2010 |
As BP launches another attempt to stop the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, President Obama said Tuesday he was moving ahead with a formal inquiry aimed at preventing another environmental disaster. Obama, speaking in the Rose Garden, said he will soon make a handful of appointments to a special commission examining the cause of the oil spill that he has called "the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history."' Obama appeared with the co-chairmen of the new commission, former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and William K. Reilly, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency under the Republican administration of former President George H.W. Bush.
December 3, 2009 |
Deputy Atty. Gen. David W. Ogden, the Justice Department's equivalent of a chief executive officer, announced this morning that he was stepping down after only 10 months on the job, to return to private law practice. After his confirmation last March, Ogden was responsible for a broad portfolio that included managing the day-to-day operations of the sprawling department, including its criminal, national security and civil divisions. Justice Department officials had no comment on why Ogden was leaving so soon, though Ogden said today he had always planned to leave as soon as the department was headed on the right path.
June 29, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The day after the Supreme Court dealt him a major victory, President Obama moved on to fighting other fires - literally - as he traveled to Colorado to check on a blaze that has destroyed hundreds of homes. The moment captured a truth about Obama's tenure: From the day he took office in the midst of an economic crisis, he has rarely had the luxury of a victory lap. Instead, in a stubbornly lackluster economy, the most that administration officials generally can claim is credit for avoiding disasters, achievements typically followed by questions about when that sad state of affairs will improve.
November 29, 2009 |
In the uproar caused by Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.'s announcement that the alleged planners of the 9/11 attacks are to be tried in U.S. District Court in New York City, and the suspects in the attack on the U.S. destroyer Cole will go on trial before military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the public discourse has lost sight of the fundamental principles that guide the government when it makes such decisions. Unfortunately, the government has lost sight of the principles as well.
July 11, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Expressing outrage over national security leaks, Republicans on a House Judiciary subcommittee pressed legal experts Wednesday on whether it was possible to prosecute reporters for publishing classified information. The response was a qualified yes. "Under certain circumstances, you can see that if someone acting with impunity and knowledge of the consequences goes ahead and publishes it, that is something that I think would be worthy of prosecution and punishment," said Kenneth Wainstein, a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft who specializes in national security.
June 20, 2012
The confrontation between the Obama administration and a House committee over documents related to the botched Fast and Furious investigation obviously has election-year political overtones. But it also involves serious questions of policy and law. Instead of playing a constitutional game of chicken, the administration and Congress should resume negotiations toward an accommodation. On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines to hold Atty.
April 28, 2010 |
President Obama on Wednesday dismissed Arizona's tough new anti-immigration law as a "shortcut" that will merely inflame the debate "instead of solving the problem." In an impromptu session with reporters at the back of his plane, Obama described the law as a product of "people's frustrations about the border." Although the president sympathized in part, saying we now have "hundreds of thousands of people coming in" who are "not playing by the rules," he said Arizona had chosen the wrong approach.
January 9, 2009 |
Attorney general nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. repeatedly pushed some of his subordinates at the Clinton Justice Department to drop their opposition to a controversial 1999 grant of clemency to 16 members of two violent Puerto Rican nationalist organizations, according to interviews and documents. Details of the role played by Holder, who was deputy attorney general at the time, had not been publicly known until now.
February 12, 2013 |
The United States is expanding its military presence in Honduras on a spectacular scale. The Associated Press reported this month in an investigative article that Washington in 2011 authorized $1.3 billion for U.S. military electronics in Honduras. This is happening while the post-coup regime of Honduran President Porfirio Lobo is more out of control than ever, especially since the Honduran Congress staged a "technical coup" in December. But as the Obama administration deepens its partnership with Honduras, ostensibly to fight the drug war, Democrats in Congress are increasingly rebelling.