In addition to falsely claiming that the DOJ has no choice but to defend, enforce, and appeal anti-gay laws, senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett also appears to take a swipe at those of you who aren’t happy with the President’s less-than-fierce advocacy on this issue. Apparently, you just don’t understand the way things work. (Oh trust me, I think we’re beginning to.) From Igor Volsky in The Wonk Room.
JARRETT: Until Congress repeals it, the Justice Department is doing what it is required to do, and that is to defend the laws of the land. But I want to be very clear, the President thinks that it is time for the policy to end and that is what he intends to ask Congress to do.
You know what, c. Believe me, we wish that it were another way because the President has been so clear. And I think there are many members of the gay community who actually understand this, and who are working with us to try to put pressure on Congress to repeal it. It’s clear that vast majority of American people think that it should not be the law. And we are determined to have Congress revoke it. But we have to go through that orderly process.
So I guess Ted Olsen doesn’t understand the law either, huh Valerie? This, from George W. Bush’s solicitor general:
As Ted Olson — former Solicitor General under President George W. Bush — explains, “it happens every once in awhile at the federal level when the solicitor general, on behalf of the U.S., will confess error or decline to defend a law.”“I don’t know what is going through the [Obama] administration’s thought process on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” Olson said. “It would be appropriate for them to say ‘the law has been deemed unconstitutional, we are not going to seek further review of that.’”
I think it’s time someone got Valerie Jarrett a new set of misinformation talking points, because the current ones have already been debunked, embarrassingly so.
No, Valerie, DOJ is not required to defend, or appeal, or enforce every law. That’s a lie. Newsweek did the best summation of the options the President has here, but to quote from their story, “Most experts in constitutional and military law say [President Obama] has other options” than simply appealing, defending and enforcing the law.
Not to mention, if Valerie Jarrett is so sure that “the Justice Department is required to defend the law of the land,” then why has the Obama administration refused to enforce lots of other laws since they came into office? We’ve enumerated them before. Let me share with you a bit of that post:
A) Last October the Obama administration outright ignored federal law regarding marijuana because it was at odd’s with the administration’s policy preferences with regards to medical marijuana.
B) Then there is President Obama’s use of signing statements to simply ignore laws passed by Congress.
C) Then there’s this from the NYT just two months ago:
T]he approach will make it harder to keep track of which statutes the White House believes it can disregard….
[T]he administration will consider itself free to disregard new laws it considers unconstitutional….
Mr. Obama nevertheless challenged dozens of provisions early last year. The last time was in June, when his claim that he could disobey a new law requiring officials to push the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to adopt certain policies angered Congress….
Last year the Obama administration disregarded a statute that forbid State Department officials to attend United Nations meetings led by nations deemed state sponsors of terrorism. Congress has included that restriction in several recent bills.
D) Then there was the time that the Obama administration refused to enforce immigration laws because they didn’t comport with the administration’s policy preferences.
Need I go on?
I’d like to think that a senior White House official, who just spoke at the HRC dinner, isn’t lying to our community about the state of play with regards to DOJ and the law. I’d like to think that she’s simply seriously ignorant of how all of this works. But this isn’t the first time the Obama administration has tried to mislead the gay community on this issue. They do it a lot. And it’s always the same false talking points about how they have no other option than to defend the law.
And it’s a lie.
Finally, with all due respect to Valerie Jarrett, why is the White House using someone who thinks being gay is a “lifestyle choice” to be their top spokesperson on gay issues? Regardless of whether it was a simple slip of the tongue for Jarrett’s to use the phrase to recently describe a now-dead gay bullying victim, her use of the anachronistic and supremely offensive language shows that she is not intimately familiar with our community and our issues. No gay spokesperson would use that phrase, ever. But it seems there aren’t any senior White House advisers who are openly gay (nor are there any openly gay Cabinet secretaries, or Supreme Court nominees), and the only gay spokespeople they have are unfortunately relatively low level. So we have to rely – the President has to rely when getting advice on our issues – on someone who thinks the state of play in the gay community is offensive religious right talking points from twenty years ago.
The Obama administration has done this much damage to the gay community’s decades-long relationship with the Democrat party in only 19 months. Imagine how bad it’s going to be at the end of four years.