“The president shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States. ” — Article II, U.S. Constitution
Since the start of his second term, President Obama has sought to stock his Cabinet with leftists whose records should have been subjected to exacting scrutiny but who, by and large, were given a pass. Even on the basis of what did come to light in at least two of those cases — Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and CIA Director John O. Brennan — the Senate should have provided its advice and dissented to the nominations.
Emboldened by the failure of sufficient numbers of senators to object to these deeply problematic appointments, Mr. Obama has now presented them with what is, arguably, his most outrageous pick to date: the nomination of Thomas Perez to become the next secretary of labor.
If the U.S. Senate advises and consents to the appointment of such a selection, it will effectively allow the notion that the Senate must rubber-stamp whomever the president nominates to supplant the clear “quality-control” role the Framers envisioned when they conceived of the Constitution’s Article II check-and-balance on executive branch officers. Call it the Perez Test.
Here are but a few of the reasons why Mr. Perez must be denied a promotion to Cabinet rank:
J. Christian Adams, a courageous, whistleblowing former career Department of Justice lawyer who worked for a time under Mr. Perez in the latter’s current capacity as the assistant attorney general for civil rights, recently wrote at Breitbart.com a scathing assessment of Mr. Perez’s record in that job. Mr. Adams witnessed firsthand the application of Mr. Perez’s attitude, now documented by an inspector general report, that civil rights laws “are only meant to protect black victims from white defendants.” So much for equal justice under the law.
Other examples of the selective enforcement of the law under the Perez Civil Rights Division at Justice have included clearly politicized interventions on voting rights matters — even, in some cases, going against the recommendations of his department’s own professionals; opposing voter identity and voter roll-integrity initiatives intended to mitigate the threat of fraud; and insisting on racial hiring preferences, even after the Supreme Court invalidated the practice.
In addition, the Justice Department has been notoriously lax in enforcing federal immigration laws. Mr. Perez also has presided over the department’s persecution of states that seek to enforce those laws.
Such an attitude should hardly come as a surprise, given Mr. Perez’s past chairmanship of Casa de Maryland, which Mr. Adams describes as “a radical, Hugo Chavez-funded organization which facilitates criminal immigration.”
“They train illegal immigrants how to avoid capture,” he wrote. It is hard to imagine entrusting the Labor Department and federal labor policy to a man who has worked for years to assist in the violation of relevant U.S. statutes.
One other, particularly worrisome aspect of Mr. Perez’s record that should not be implicitly, let alone explicitly, endorsed by the Senate is his enthusiastic embrace of Islamists and their causes. In October 2011, he did so literally with such enthusiasm that he leapt onto a stage at George Washington University in order to hug the leader of the largest Muslim Brotherhood front group in the United States: Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America.
His division has also intervened in court to force a school in Illinois to give a new teacher time off with pay to make the pilgrimage to Mecca called the hajj. It has assisted Islamist groups in securing the purging of government training materials and trainers that might “offend” Muslims. In July 2012, Mr. Perez refused to answer House Judiciary Constitution subcommittee Chairman Rep. Trent Franks, who sought assurances that his department will “never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion.” It is hard to square an unwillingness to answer that question forthrightly with the oath of office Mr. Perez has taken in the past. In accordance with the old adage “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” he should be considered ineligible to promise again that he will uphold and defend the Constitution.
Mr. Perez is, in short, the poster child of Team Obama’s notorious practice of putting politics over public safety. Before coming to federal office and during his past four years at the Justice Department, he has promoted the radical left’s agendas and those of its allies in Islamist circles. He has done so at the expense of the rights of all Americans to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness safeguarded from all their enemies, foreign and domestic.
The Senate must rise to the Perez Test. To do so, it needs to examine thoroughly Thomas Perez’s record and then recognize that in a case such as this one, the president’s latitude to pick whomever he chooses to staff his administration cannot be allowed to trump the Senate’s constitutional duty to exercise its advice and consent by blocking a clearly unsuitable nominee for the position of secretary of labor.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. formerly acted as an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan. He is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the syndicated program Secure Freedom Radio.