Friday, March 25, 2016


Posted: 23 Mar 2016 07:06 AM PDT
(Scott Johnson) 
Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the Circuit that includes Ohio and thus the IRS’s Cincinnati office) released its decision in United States v. NorCal Tea Party Patriots. In the court’s published decision, rejecting the IRS’s petition for extraordinary relief in a pending class action by the NorCal Tea Party and others mistreated by the IRS, the baloney meets the grinder. Judge Kethledge introduces the court’s opinion with these striking paragraphs:
Among the most serious allegations a federal court can address are that an Executive agency has targeted citizens for mistreatment based on their political views. No citizen—Republican or Democrat, socialist or libertarian—should be targeted or even have to fear being targeted on those grounds. Yet those are the grounds on which the plaintiffs allege they were mistreated by the IRS here. The allegations are substantial: most are drawn from findings made by the Treasury Department’s own Inspector General for Tax Administration. Those findings include that the IRS used political criteria to round up applications for tax-exempt status filed by so-called tea-party groups; that the IRS often took four times as long to process tea-party applications as other applications; and that the IRS served tea-party applicants with crushing demands for what the Inspector General called “unnecessary information.”
Yet in this lawsuit the IRS has only compounded the conduct that gave rise to it. The plaintiffs seek damages on behalf of themselves and other groups whose applications the IRS treated in the manner described by the Inspector General. The lawsuit has progressed as slowly as the underlying applications themselves: at every turn the IRS has resisted the plaintiffs’ requests for information regarding the IRS’s treatment of the plaintiff class, eventually to the open frustration of the district court. At issue here are IRS “Be On the Lookout” lists of organizations allegedly targeted for unfavorable treatment because of their political beliefs. Those organizations in turn make up the plaintiff class. The district court ordered production of those lists, and did so again over an IRS motion to reconsider. Yet, almost a year later, the IRS still has not complied with the court’s orders. Instead the IRS now seeks from this court a writ of mandamus, an extraordinary remedy reserved to correct only the clearest abuses of power by a district court. We deny the petition.
Judge Kethledge quotes the comments of the district court judge handling the case at a discovery conference:
My impression is the government probably did something wrong in this case. Whether there’s liability or not is a legal question. However, I feel like the government is doing everything it possibly can to make this as complicated as it possibly can, to last as long as it possibly can, so that by the time there is a result, nobody is going to care except the plaintiffs. . . . I question whether or not the Department of Justice is doing justice. 
As one can infer from the district court judge’s comments, behind the IRS’s foot-dragging and stonewalling is Obama’s Department of Justice. Judge Kethledge therefore reserves a few choice words for the Department of Justice:
The lawyers in the Department of Justice have a long and storied tradition of defending the nation’s interests and enforcing its laws—all of them, not just selective ones—in a manner worthy of the Department’s name. The conduct of the IRS’s attorneys in the district court falls outside that tradition. We expect that the IRS will do better going forward. And we order that the IRS comply with the district court’s discovery orders of April 1 and June 16, 2015—without redactions, and without further delay.
Stephen Dinan reports for the Washington Times: “Justice Department officials declined to comment on the judicial drubbing, and the IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment on the unusually strong language Judge Kethledge used.” The decision deserves much more comment, but it won’t be coming from the IRS or the Department of Justice any time soon.
Here I will just elaborate the obvious. The Sixth Circuit decision represents a disgrace that goes to the top of the Obama administration.


  1. Objectively, I'm not entirely sure this reaches the surreality of a Kafka story, especially when you read a story like the metamorphosis, that book was truly depressing to me. Anyway, I'm not dismissing your claim here William that there was overreach or abuse of power. However, I'll go to my standard claim, you seem to be okay with government overreach when it's done in the name of something you agree with, and you get angry when similar tactics are used against groups you support. This stuff here is child's play compared to what J. Edgar used to do, and the stuff that happened in the 60's. Change doesn't happen when you only complain about injustice against groups you support.

    1. I was a kid when J. Edgar was in power and I do not see the link. I have railed against all forms of government and crony government over reach.

      At the very least Max couldn't you agree that Lois Lerner and those that perpetrated these scandalous acts should lose their pension? I'd like them in jail, but common Max throw me a bone.

    2. If a judgement is rendered that she actually broke the law, then she should face consequences. Admittedly, I have not read every shred of this case available. From what I've seen, the IRS gave a lot of extra scrutiny to tea party groups and made them file a bunch of unnecessary paper work. It's abusive, but such tactics have become the norm in our political world. Doesn't make it right.

      As for you railing against all kind of over reach, you likely have no problem with multiple states in the states in the south using unnecessary laws to de facto outlaw abortion. It's a total abuse of power.

      Voting laws and restricting access on voting day like those fuckheads in Arizona just did. Voting laws created with absolutely no evidence of voter fraud, that are designed with only one intention, which is to limit the ability of people to vote.

      It's rampant everywhere William. If Lerner is found, in a court of law, to have broken the law, she should go to jail.

    3. You and I know the Obama so called "Justice Department" will never ever pursue the case. Nor will they take up the egregious flaunting of HRC emails. Both will be buried in a Kafkaesque labyrinth aided by main stream media compliance.

      This is the incidious rot that eats away at our nations rule of law.

    4. Let's be real about something here William. We are at this point with Clinton's emails because of Benghazi. This is no longer about Benghazi, just like the previous Clinton witch hunt that started with Whitewater and ended up with wailing and gnashing of teeth over the blowjob. Sorry William, you were a true water carrier for that Benghazi crap, over and over and over and over and over they investigated, and when conehead Trey took over, he discovered what everyone else did, which is that there was no super conspiracy, and then they pivoted to try and catch her on emails. When Kevin McCarthy finally spilled the beans, it was no surprise to anyone.

      If we went back through several past Sec. of State, we would likely find exactly the same behavior. But, you and the Republicans hate Hillary, (I don't like her either) so you fully endorse the abuse of power. It is an insidious rot, perhaps someday you can truly put concern about that rot above your political ideology.