June 13, 2008

Obama VP Committee Member Helped Enable 2000 Elian Gonzalez Seizure

Now that Jim Johnson has quit Barack Obama’s vice-presidential candidate selection team, maybe somebody, anybody, in the media, instead of making “He’s havng a bad day” excuses, might focus on the questionable judgment of Barack Obama in having Eric Holder serve on that team.

Besides his already-known role in facilitating the Clinton pardons, including that of fugitive billionaire financier Marc Rich, there’s the matter of former Clinton Administration Deputy Attorney General Holder’s involvement in the Elian Gonzalez case in 2000.

As the April 23, 2000 edition of the Media Research Center’s CyberAlert noted at the time, Andrew Napolitano of Fox News charged that the early-Saturday seizure of the then 6 year-old Gonzalez flagrantly disobeyed a ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In response to a question from Fox News anchor Jeff Asman, Napolitano said the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):

The order issued by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals four days ago …. said once the INS chooses the guardian, and the INS chose Lazaro Gonzalez (Elian’s paternal great uncle — Ed.) to be the guardian, and an application for asylum has been made by the guardian, the INS can not change the guardian and that’s exactly what they did here.”

Asman: “So is this executive overreach?”

Napolitano: “This is more than executive overreach. This is contempt of the circuit court of appeals order. This is a high class kidnapping is what it is, sanctioned by no law, sanctioned by no judge…”

In an interview later that morning, Napolitano left Holder speechless (also available in the fourth item at this link):

Napolitano: Tell me, Mr. Holder, why did you not get a court order authorizing you to go in and get the boy?

Holder: Because we didn’t need a court order. INS can do this on its own.

Napolitano: You know that a court order would have given you the cloak of respectability to have seized the boy.

Holder: We didn’t need an order.

Napolitano: Then why did you ask the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for such an order if you didn’t need one?

Holder: [Silence]

Napolitano: The fact is, for the first time in history you have taken a child from his residence at gunpoint to enforce your custody position, even though you did not have an order authorizing it.

Earlier in that interview, as noted in a different CyberAlert item on the same day, Holder showed that he wouldn’t admit the truth, even when in plain sight:

Napolitano: When is the last time a boy, a child, was taken at the point of a gun without an order of a judge. Unprecedented in American history.”

Holder: “He was not taken at the point of a gun.”

Napolitano: “We have a photograph showing he was taken at the point of a gun.”

Holder: “They were armed agents who went in there who acted very sensitively…”

Here is Alan Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo depicting how Elian Gonzalez was “was not taken at the point of a gun” (larger picture is at link):


Someone should ask Barack Obama if he is at all bothered by Mr. Holder’s inability to even recognize when someone is being taken at gunpoint, and how, among all the possible vice-presidential selection committee candidates out there, Mr. Holder was still deemed so deserving. Don’t expect that question any time soon.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.



  1. [...] BizzyBlog – Obama VP Committee Member Helped Enable 2000 Elian Gonzalez Seizure [...]

    Pingback by Media Mythbusters Blog » Blog Archive » Media Bias Roundup - 06/13/08 — June 13, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  2. Custody decisions are highly subjective political decisions and nothing more. I was not aware of this background info. however, given Elian’s mother died in the crossing from Cuba to the US ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli%C3%A1n_Gonz%C3%A1lez ), Elian’s Father, Juan Miguel González-Quintana, being next of kin, in this case his biological parent was the rightful custodian of Elian, not his great uncle whom the INS appointed as guardian while in the US. It matters not one whit if they were divorced.

    Whatever you think of the Clintons, and I don’t think much of them, they made the proper call to send Elian back to his father, i.e. his parent. I say screw the Courts given that the Courts ususally screw over the kids and dads in custody situations (I realize it wasn’t a family law cournt). This is one of the very few instances the Clinton Administration did the right thing by coincidence even if it technically violated some judge’s ruling.

    We may disagree on this one Tom, but as a divorced dad, I side with Elian and his dad on this one even if it means going to Communist Cuba. The only reason why Elian’s relatives insisted he stay in the US was their desire to tweak Castro’s nose under the guise of a better economic life for Elian, a child is not some political pawn. Obviously, the relatives were at odds with Elian’s father otherwise they would not have pulled the stunts they did. Sorry but even this doesn’t merit separating a child from his only living parent.

    At the risk of being tangential, the Family Law Court is the most corrupt institution in the US. The only time they get a ruling right is strictly coincidence. Over half of ALL child abusers are hand picked by the Family Law Judge to be the custodian. The reason is 90% of the time they pick the female as the custodial parent under the stereotype that only females can be single parent and males can only be paychecks. The other 10% of the time, they can’t cover up the female’s drug use, alcoholism, prostitution or desertion. As a result, I have zero respect for the Family Law system. The Family Law system represents Socialism and Feminism at it worst and the consequences upon our society have been horrific as witnessed by 70% of inmates being from broken homes. How many more victims of Socialism do we need to realize that such an ideology is bankrupt? How many children have been murdered as a direct result of the Family Law judge? Apparently, there haven’t been enough to dissuade them from their Depraved Indifference…

    Comment by dscott — June 13, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  3. #1, we do disagree on the big picture of Elian (his mother intended for him to live here, and I believe we should have honored that wish), but that’s tangential to the issue of this post.

    The issue is that the DOJ was under a court order in a specific case (i.e., something a court is actually allowed to do) granting custody to Lazaro. Other items were pending at the time that were heading against the FL family keeping Elian, but that 11th Circuit Court ruling was the highest court involved to that point.

    DOJ got their warrant from a judge on a Friday evening after all other courts were closed (some believe they got it after the fact and backdated it), ensuring that no one could appeal on the family’s behalf until after the raid. They did it because they knew they were legally in the wrong, but that the public would probably let it go (however, Al Gore who lost FL might dispute whether enough people ever let it go).

    Napolitano’s right; Holder was wrong, and made speechless when confronted with it.

    You are definitely correct about the pro-female bias of the custody system and the selection of who is the presumptively more fit parent.

    Comment by TBlumer — June 13, 2008 @ 4:34 pm

  4. Since we agree to disagree on Elian issue regarding Johnson as Obama’s choice of people, there is another person whom Obama can be equally chastened: Eric Holder

    by Linda Chavez: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/LindaChavez/2008/06/13/obama_flunks_another_test

    Johnson’s departure doesn’t end the controversy around Obama’s VP search committee, however. One of the other members of the committee, Eric Holder, has his own problems. Holder was the No. 2 man in the Clinton Justice Department and played an important role in a controversial, last-minute presidential pardon of financier Marc Rich. Rich spent nearly two decades as a fugitive dodging charges for federal tax evasion and trading with Iran while that country held U.S. citizens as prisoners. These pardons have been the subject of federal investigations and congressional hearings, tarnishing Holder’s reputation.

    Comment by dscott — June 13, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

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