Department Of Justice Sues Fire Department Over “Disparate Impact.”

The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the City of Jacksonville for discrimination against minority firefighters.

Firefighters seeking to be promoted within the Jacksonville (Florida) Fire Department must take a test. The test is one part of the process to be promoted. Statistically, African Americans are not passing the test as often as others. In addition, when they do pass the test, their scores are generally lower than other racial groups. The only “conclusion” one can reach is there must be discrimination within the test and the Jacksonville Fire Department – at least according to the DOJ.

This is the ol’ “disparate impact” theory which we have covered before. When Obama took office and appointed Eric Holder to the Attorney General spot, Holder said he would focus on cases of “disparate impact” rather than cases of actual discrimination.

As part of this shift, the Obama administration is planning a major revival of high-impact civil rights enforcement against policies, in areas ranging from housing to hiring, where statistics show that minorities fare disproportionately poorly. President George W. Bush’s appointees had discouraged such tactics, preferring to focus on individual cases in which there is evidence of intentional discrimination.

The problems with the DOJ’s claims in the Jacksonville case are many. First, unless the tests are asking “what is the secret handshake at meetings of the KKK?” it is difficult to see how a test can be discriminatory. If the test asks questions on procedures, regulations, safety, fire types, etc., we cannot see how the test itself is discriminatory. Answers are either right or wrong. In the case of a fire department, what happens when you have people in positions of authority who get questions dealing with the public safety wrong? Is the public better served by promoting people who can’t pass a test on subject matter pertaining to their job?

Violation of Terms of Service a Felony?

According to, today the Department of Justice will testify before Congress to increase penalties under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

At issue is the Act’s use of the term “exceeds authorized access.” When passed, the intent of the Act was to have the phrase apply to hacking or fraud on the internet. Now the Feds want to expand the meaning to “any violation of the Terms of Service of a website.”

Doesn’t sound like much, does it?

It does when you consider the ramifications. A letter signed by a group including the Electronic Foundation Frontier, the ACLU, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation highlights the problem:

Our primary concern – that this will lead to overbroad application of the law – is far from hypothetical. Three federal circuit courts have agreed that an employee who exceeds an employer’s network acceptable use policies can be prosecuted under the CFAA. At least one federal prosecutor has brought criminal charges
against a user of a social network who signed up under a pseudonym in violation of terms of service.

These activities should not be “computer crimes,” any more than they are crimes in the physical world. If, for example, an employee photocopies an employer’s document to give to a friend without that employer’s permission, there is no federal crime (though there may be, for example, a contractual violation). However, if an employee emails that document, there may be a CFAA violation. If a person assumes a fictitious identity at a party, there is no federal crime. Yet if they assume that same identity on a social network that prohibits pseudonyms, there may again be a CFAA violation. This is a gross misuse of the law. The CFAA should focus on malicious hacking and identity theft and not on criminalizing any behavior that happens to take place online in violation of terms of service or an acceptable use policy.

The Obama administration seems to have made it their mission to control the internet and the content on it. Twice the White House has set up websites so people can contact them when something is posted with which the administration disagrees. We have seen the Department of Homeland Security seize domains and domain names without any due process for the seizure.

In essence, the Obama Administration through the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security are is looking to make criminal what is essentially a civil matter.

That is dangerous.

But it doesn’t stop there.

In a letter to Congress, the DOJ is looking to further expand the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The letter calls for increases in the ability to seize assets of citizens and increasing penalties. For example, according to the Cnet article, uploading a copyrighted song or video to YouTube twice “becomes a pattern of racketeering.”

We may be paranoid, but to us this is a continued attack on the freedoms of Americans.


The Los Angeles Times headline says it all:

Justice Department’s $16 muffins don’t sit well

The headline and the story following it summarizes an audit report issued by the Office of the Inspector General on the costs of Conference Planning and Food and Beverages at Department of Justice conferences.

The “highlight” of the report and one that people have latched onto is the audit concludes the DOJ effectively paid $16 for muffins at one conference. If you thought gasoline was expensive, the report found:

For example, one conference served $16 muffins while another served Beef Wellington hors d’oeuvres that cost $7.32 per serving. Coffee and tea at the events cost between $0.62 and $1.03 an ounce. At the $1.03 per-ounce price, an 8ounce cup of coffee would have cost $8.24.

The extravagance has become a political talking point overnight.

Republicans fire off their shots:

“The Justice Department appears to be blind to the economic realities our country is facing,” [Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa] said in a statement.

“The inspector general’s office just gave a blueprint for the first cuts that should be made by the super committee,” he added, referring to the panel tasked with reducing the federal budget deficit.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who chairs the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees Justice Department spending, also weighed in with his displeasure over the food and beverage tab for conferences.

“It is clear that while American taxpayers were tightening their belts and making difficult financial decisions, the department was splurging on wasteful snacks and drinks as well as unnecessary event planning ‘consultants,'” he said in a letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder.

Democrats return fire:

Stories about the $16 muffin “reinforce why the President and I launched the Campaign to Cut Waste, a government-wide initiative to reduce spending by making government more effective and more efficient,” vice president [Biden] said in a statement.

Democrats fire again with the “they did it too” defense:

Another Brilliant Plan From the EEOC – Make Felons a Protected Class.

The US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) is taking comments and input on making a new class of protected workers such as women, minorities, holders of creeds, etc.

That new class?


In a warped world where people who have broken the law are protected in what is being termed “workplace discrimination” over those who have not broken the law, the EEOC wants to insure that felons have the same rights to a job as those who have not committed a felony.

The EEOC released a statement on the issue entitled, “Striking the Balance Between Workplace Fairness and Workplace Safety,” in which the Commission said:

Employers often refuse to hire people with arrest and conviction records even years after they have completed their sentences, leading to recidivism and higher social services costs, experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a meeting today at agency headquarters.

Speaking to the Committee were:

  • Amy Solomon, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice. That would be the Obama Department of Justice run by Eric Holder who has made it plain that the DOJ will sue businesses on the basis of “disparate impact.”
  • Cornell William Brooks, Executive Director of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a social justice “think and do tank”
  • Michael F. Curtin, Jr., President and CEO of the D.C. Central Kitchen
  • Victoria Kane, an attorney with the hospitality group Portfolio Hotels & Resorts

  • Barry A. Hartstein, a shareholder in the law firm of Littler Mendelson
  • Adam Klein, a partner in the law firm Outten & Golden LLP
  • In total that would be two speakers from the far left, three lawyers, and a President of a volunteer organization.

    Who was missing?

    Are You Better Served By Dumb Police Officers?

    ABC News out of Dayton, Ohio is reporting that due to a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, the scores required for passing the Police Entrance Exams are being lowered.

    Under the previous requirements, candidates had to get a 66% on part one of the exam and a 72% on part two.

    The D.O.J. approved new scoring policy only requires potential police officers to get a 58% and a 63%. That’s the equivalent of an ‘F’ and a ‘D’.

    Why the change?

    It’s a move required by the U.S. Department of Justice after it says not enough African-Americans passed the exam.


    Next Entries »