Dereliction of Duty Is DOJ Senior Official’s Proudest Achievement

by Ed Whelan

No one in the Obama administration’s Department of Justice has much to be proud of, but still ….

According to this Washington Post article, outgoing Associate Attorney General Tony West says that “his most meaningful accomplishment during 5½ years in the Obama administration was his role in the Justice Department’s decision to stop backing the Defense of Marriage Act.”

In his previous role as head of DOJ’s civil division, West first helped sabotage DOJ’s purported defense of DOMA and then engineered DOJ’s formal abandonment of its defense. It speaks volumes about the politicization of the rule of law that West is proud of his role in the Obama administration’s failure to adhere to DOJ’s longstanding practice of vigorously defending the constitutionality of any federal law for which reasonable arguments can be offered. (And, no, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision against DOMA did not vindicate West’s betrayal of his duty.)