A U.S. District Court judge in Arizona granted a Justice Department motion to intervene in Melendres v. Arpaio, a private lawsuit filed against Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Joseph Arpaio. A federal court held in May 2013 that Arpaio's department had violated the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in its traffic enforcement practices. Later that year, the court issued an injunction instituting reforms to Sheriff Arpaio's department's enforcement operations. Thursday's ruling gives the Justice Department enforcement powers to carry out the injunction and monitoring for future violations as well.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mark Kappelhoff of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said:
As a party in the Melendres case, the Department of Justice can now work together with the court, the plaintiffs and the independent monitor to ensure that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office meaningfully implements the court-ordered reforms so that the constitutional rights of all people of Maricopa County are protected. The Constitution guarantees that all people receive the equal protection of the law, and the department is now positioned to ensure that this important right is upheld.
The Justice Department has had a parallel lawsuit against Maricopa County and Sheriff Arpaio alleging unconstitutional conduct in four areas:
discriminatory policing against Hispanic persons in MCSO’s saturation patrols, general traffic enforcement and worksite operations targeting Hispanic immigrants
detentions in violation of the Fourth Amendment during MCSO’s worksite raids targeting Hispanic immigrants
failures in the provision of language access to Hispanic limited English proficient jail inmates
retaliatory police action against critics of Sheriff Arpaio and MCSO.
Some settlement agreements have been reached in the case, while others are still the subjects of motions pending before the court. Sheriff Arpaio recently attempted to have Judge Murray Snow removed from the case, a motion which was denied. Sheriff Arpaio himself will be facing contempt of court charges in the fall relating to previous violations of the judge's orders.
The Scrapbook, ever mindful of the passage of time, couldn’t help but notice the obituary for John Doar in a recent edition of the Washington Post. Doar, who died last week at the age of 92, had been one of Bobby Kennedy’s associates at the Justice Department, serving for seven years in its civil rights division. Those were interesting times (1960-67) to be in the civil rights division, and the Post had much to say about Doar’s work in the long, sometimes violent, struggle to end racial segregation.
Last month the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The vote broke along party lines, 10-to-8. Over the weekend Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania became the first Democrat to oppose Adegbile. “I will not vote to confirm the nominee,” he said. A cloture vote scheduled for Monday has (because of the snowstorm) been postponed to Wednesday. With Casey’s announcement, Adegbile can no longer be assured that Democratic senators will uniformly support him. Indeed, the question now is whether other Democrats will follow Casey’s lead. It would take six Democrats including Casey to vote against and defeat the nomination.
Baton Rouge Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal found out late on Friday, August 23. Attorney General Eric Holder was suing to block the state’s school voucher program, which aims to give low-income kids in terrible schools the opportunity to attend better public schools and even private schools. The Justice Department claims the two-year-old program could interfere with federal desegregation orders in several Louisiana parishes, holdovers from the Civil Rights era.
Several weeks ago in San Francisco, Attorney General Eric Holder told the American Bar Association that our criminal justice system is too harsh, too costly, and gives convicted African-American males sentences 20 percent longer than others for similar crimes.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid said the George Zimmerman trial "isn't over" and said he thinks "the Justice Department is going to take a look at this."
The NBC host asked, "And the president, does he have a role in speaking about it as he did after the shooting?"
"Yeah, of course," said Reid. "And I think the Justice Department's going to take a look at this. You know, this isn't over with, and I think that's good, that's our system. It's gotten better, not worse."
Valerie Jarrett, a close adviser to President Obama, said that Eric Holder is "definitely" not stepping down and that he'll be attorney general "for quite a while."
"One of the things that you learn in this business is, don't listen to rumors. You can take it from me. Obviously, I know the president pretty well. And I know the attorney general very well. and he will be in his position for quite a while."
White House spokesman dodged questions today about whether Attorney General Eric Holder told the truth when testifying in front of Congress. The questions arise amid new developments in the story of the Justice Department's snooping on Fox News reporter James Rosen.
"I would refer you to the Justice Department," says Carney.
President Barack Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder, is "beginning to feel a creeping sense of personal remorse." The feelings of "remorse" began for Holder after he read an article in the Washington Post about how the Justice Department, which he heads, investigated Fox News reporter James Rosen.