I’m not a regular reader of Reason Magazine—I don’t think I’d want to read a magazine called Truth or Virtue either. But I must say I was intrigued by this account (link) from Radley Balko about what we learn from the Justice Department mail dumps. Consider:
[T]the White House’s official explanation for the firings of the attorneys – a disagreement over priorities – is actually more disturbing than what the White House is actually being accused of, which is basically abusing the office for partisan purposes, because of what this administration's priorities actually are (foolish pursuits of vicitmless crimes like obscenity cases, Internet gambling, and the mass investigation of people who sell marijuana pipes over the Internet).
In addition to its misplaced priorities, this Justice Department has endured allegations of illegal spying and wiretapping, abuse of national security letters, neglecting federalism in its enforcement of drug and death penalty policies, attempting to suspend habeas corpus for terrorism suspects, and all-around contempt for the Constitution. … . The emails reveal some disturbing truths about the inner workings of this Justice Department, and in so doing show not only the vital importance of transparency in government, but just how much the unprecedented secrecy of the current administration conceals from the public.
Consider the case of just one fired attorney:
The emails indicate that Charlton frequently butted heads with higher-ups in DOJ over priorities and procedures. The emails show a comparatively cautious, careful prosecutor who, despite his gaudy record, seemed concerned with the actual administration of justice and the proper role of a federal prosecutor, not just in goosing his statistics. The emails also show that his critics at DOJ seemed to have little patience for such petty nuances.
Charlton, for example, was criticized in emails between senior-level Justice Department officials because he refused to take low- or mid-level marijuana cases, preferring to conserve his resources for major distributors. One email cited complaints from then-Speaker Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill) about Charlton’s refusal to prosecute marijuana cases involving less than …
Less than what? For valuable prizes, guess how much (or how little) marijuana counts as a “low- or mid-level marijuana case.” H/T: David Yen, who picks up the good stuff about bankruptcy and the porn biz.