WASHINGTON — The United States government took a historic step back from its long-running drug war on Thursday, when Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado that the Department of Justice would allow the states to create a regime that would regulate and implement the ballot initiatives that legalized the use of marijuana for adults.
A Justice Department official said that Holder told the governors in a joint phone call early Thursday afternoon that the department would take a “trust but verify approach” to the state laws. DOJ is reserving its right to file a preemption lawsuit at a later date, since the states’ regulation of marijuana is illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.
[That should read “Holder.”]
Attorney General Eric Holder called for doing away with “stand your ground” self-defense laws, telling the NAACP the statutes “sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods” and allow “violent situations to escalate in public.”
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By Stephanie Condon
Attorney General Eric Holder promised that the Justice Department “will continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law” as it considers whether to pursue criminal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin.
“We are determined to meet division and confusion with understanding and compassion – and also with truth,” Holder said Monday in Washington, D.C., at the national convention for the African-American sorority Delta Sigma Theta. “We are resolved, as you are, to combat violence involving or directed at young people, to prevent future tragedies and to deal with the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes that serve as the basis for these too common incidents.”
After a Florida jury on Saturday found Zimmerman not guilty of state charges, civil rights groups have called for the Justice Department to weigh in on the case. The department is reviewing evidence and considering whether to take action. Zimmerman, while serving as a neighborhood watch volunteer last year in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., shot the 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed.
Holder called Martin’s death “tragic” and “unnecessary.”
THE DAILY BEAST
By Stuart Stevens
In Dan Brown’s new novel, Inferno, the lead character is struck with amnesia, unable to remember critical events even as he’s trying to save the world. Let’s borrow that useful plot device and imagine if American journalists woke up and couldn’t remember who was president. It would be interesting to ask them a few questions:
“Some have suggested that that these are difficult days for the administration, but I think not… It’s as if the administration is playing a game to see just how far they can push their true believers in the press corps before some semblance of self-respect emerges and they push back.” (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty)
What would you think of a president under whom the IRS targeted his harshest political opponents, during his reelection campaign?
What would you think of a president whose obsession with leaks and secrecy was so great that he used the Justice Department to obtain phone records of reporters, in violation of Justice’s established procedure?
What would you think of a president whose head of the Department of Justice signed a criminal warrant against a leading journalist working for the news organization most critical of the president—and monitored the movements of the journalist and even went after his mother’s phone records?
What would you think of an administration that directed the president’s press secretary repeatedly to deliver false information concerning the death of an American ambassador?
By Terry Freiden, CNN Justice Producer
Washington (CNN) — The Justice Department late Tuesday formally filed its case against Lance Armstrong and his company Tailwind Sports for millions of dollars that the U.S. Postal Service spent to sponsor the cycling team.
“The USPS paid approximately $40 million to sponsor the USPS cycling team from 1998 to 2004,” the court document says.
The government said it was intervening to recover triple the amount of the sponsorship funds under the False Claims Act, which could bring a total of more than $100 million in damages.
From Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
Washington (CNN) — The Inspector General of the Department of Justice, whose office published the report on the botched gun probe “Operation Fast and Furious,” will testify Thursday before a House oversight committee a day after the report’s release.
More than a dozen officials at the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are potentially facing punishment in the wake of the report.
Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz is in charge of identifying and preventing “waste, fraud, abuse and misconduct” at the Department of Justice, which oversees ATF.
While pinning the blame on officials in both Washington and Arizona for allowing guns traced in the operation to “walk” to drug cartels in Mexico, the report by the inspector’s office also takes pressure off U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, whom the House, in a largely partisan vote, had cited for contempt of Congress.
According to the report, titled “A Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters,” Holder’s subordinates had not properly informed him in a timely manner.
Holder “did not learn about Operation Fast and Furious until late January or early February 2011,” the report said. FULL ARTICLE