Attorney General Eric Holder, in a file photo dated Feb. 17, 2011, at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Get your gear on to wade through the information being broadcast in relation to the historic votes in the U.S. House of Representatives holding Eric Holder, America's attorney general, in contempt of Congress.
Bipartisan approval to hold President Obama's cabinet member in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress was a first for such a high-level official. The criminal contempt vote passed 255-67, and the civil contempt vote by a 258-95 margin.
A letter written by Deputy Attorney General James Cole to House Speaker John Boehner informed him that the U.S. Department of Justice would not prosecute his boss, Attorney General Holder, revealing the staggering conflict in this highly charged situation.
Is this an election year? Yes. Are Republicans in the majority in the U.S. House, where the votes were cast holding Eric Holder in contempt? Yes. Were these votes regarding the invocation of the executive privilege by President Barack Obama? No.
Should the definition of justice, responding to the law, and operating with integrity differ depending on the election-year cycle and which party is in control? No!
The "Fast and Furious" investigation being conducted by the U.S. House Oversight Committee into the gun-walking program that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Mexican citizens and a Border Patrol agent continues. However, the resolution recommended by this committee to the full Congress and now the two votes with bipartisan support expressing the outrage of the House reflect one issue: The Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Holder, has refused to comply with subpoenas.
Basic, non-lawyer talk? The very agency and the very individual charged to uphold and enforce our laws are thumbing their collective noses at Congress and its legal authority to investigate.
So, as the stories fly and the righteous indignation and manufactured cries of racism rage around the political realm, understand that the accountability of the attorney general is extremely high. He not only has done what no other citizen would be allowed to do, but he bears the authority and responsibility of enforcement of justice.
Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis summed it up fully, "Our government ... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy."
If you make or enforce the laws, it's your job to set the example to live by them, no exception.