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30 October 2014


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William R. Cumming

To the shock and dismay of many many federal officials that I briefed over my federal career in formal exercises and elsewhere and in testimony under oath in several forums I stated that NO repeat NO federal civil appointee or official, or any military officer, had authority to have command and control, or authority to direct any State officials or employees, or the State's local officials and employees under any theory with very limited exceptions none of which apply to the FERGUSON situation. N.B. LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND POLITICAL UNITS ARE ESTABLISHED AND ONLY OPEERATED UNDER STATE AUTHORITY AS VESTED IN THE STATE'S GOVERNMENT AS ESTABLISHED BY THE US CONSTITUTION AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS.

Please don't request the exceptions except to state that no academic law journal has delved into studying the exceptions but OLC/DoJ has done so. And very very few published judicial decisions exist on these exceptions.

Will Reks

Not commenting on the merits but any federal reform of the Ferguson PD will likely be based on 42 U.S.C. § 14141.



Col. Lang,

Maybe by the authority that he has been part of the Obama Admin...


"Structural problems"

That phrase keeps cropping up. In Europe, it's used in the economic context to mean any national policy standing in way of Eurocrat-guided serfdom.

Here Holder isn't using it in the economic context, but in a similar patronizing way, he believes a State is incabable of resolving its own problems. But Missouri has all the legal means of doing so (through its legislature and courts).

I think it is clearly within Holder's purview to ensure that these are working properly: but a better response from the federal government would be to emphasize that fact, offer his support and wait and see as to whether they do work properly.



So the Attorney General of the United States has a constitutional responsibility to ensure that every municipal police department in the Republic operates according to the laws of the State in which it is incorporated? Where in the Constitution is that authority granted by the States to the Federal Government? The AG's comments have been made prior to either investigation by the Justice Department being completed. What he is doing is making a political rather than legal position. In effect he is interfering with his own department's duties.


Wow what a shock. Federal mandarins demanding states kowtow to them.

Can't wait to see the progressive statists argue this one.


Since the AG believes there are 'structural' problems in the make up of the Ferguson PD perhaps he could enlighten Amermica on just what those structural issues are? The qualified law enforcement officers currently employed are not trained and or qualified? What constitutional power does the AG have to set those standards? Or is this 'structural' problem the political one that the racial make up of the current force is not statisticaly identical to the current racial demographics of the city?


How do we know this statement was actually made and not created as political ammo ?


I wrote that Holder has a duty to ensure that state legislatures and courts are functioning according to law.

I don't see how what I wrote can be interpreted as arguing Holder being responsible for running police departments in Missouri.

I argued that Missouri's legislature and courts are likely to work, and that Holder should offer support for those institutions. He shouldn't be usurping those institutions in the absense of fact that they are failing.


FYI it may be something similar to this -


This happens when the local police repeatedly violate civil rights laws and the local pols are unwilling or unable to fix it.

I don't know enough about Ferguson to know if this is the exact same situation. I do know the Seattle Police were out of control (multiple beatings and deaths) and the city and state politicians wouldn't do anything about it.


Apparently this is the real reason for the Administrations belated concerns about Ferguson:



Assuming your question isn't rhetorical, I'll respond literally--

Holder can say anything he wants to, though I think it is ill-advised to do so while investigations are pending. But it is an election year.

The DOJ has no authority to do anything regarding the structure of a local or state government A federal judge does that, not the AG.

Federal judges have in the past ordered wholesale changes in local government as part of judgments rendered in civil rights cases.

If the federal government has jurisdiction to bring the lawsuit, the federal government certainly has the authority to suggest remedies.

But nothing will happen in Ferguson imho. There won't be DOJ involvement--at most some commission type suggestions. The midterms are almost over and the case will shrink in importance to the DOJ.

Will Reks


If that's the case then the citizens need to do something about it, a solution preferable to federal intervention. Entire police departments have been shut down and disbanded in the past.





As I understand a federal judge can order a change based on his perception of a violation of federal law or the constitution. That order is subject to appeal. People sometimes accept a "consent decree" rather than contest a judgment but they need not. pl


Is this really surprising from a racial agitator who once led an armed takeover of Columbia's ROTC building?



I may have jumped the gun on my comment. I agree that Missouri's legislature and courts are likely to work.


Will -

Oh, I agree that that's the optimum way that such a situation should be handled. However in real life the police can pressure politicians and politicians, being spineless, are loath to do anything controversial unless it's overwhelmingly popular. There's also a fairly sizable minority (yes, even in liberal Seattle) that support the police no matter what they do. So in light of ongoing civil rights abuses (including questionable killings and many assaults) the perfect can be the enemy of the good.

scott s.

TP, I imagine that is how it would go down if it comes to that. Attorney General for the US sues in US District Court for "relief" and in the course of resolving the case the state agrees to make various structural changes in the Ferguson PD.

alba etie

Citation for armed takeover by racial agitator of the Columbia ROTC building ? If this is true how was Holder confirmed by Mitch McConnel's Senate?

Completely off topic but since you are a beekeeper - thought you might be interested that we did get the program started to train inmates how to raise bees. Apparently there is a great demand for beekeepers once an ex-offender is released .See [email protected]







I guess the deciding factor in an attempted DoJ attempted takeover of the police in Missouri would be whether or not the state government feels intimidated enough to "knuckle their forelocks" and say "Aye! Aye!" rather than appeal a district court judge's opinion. Ah, well maybe a naval analogy is not appropriate in Holder's case. pl



I believe you asked me for this cite before, but this time the good Colonel privided it. Thank you Sir.

Holder got confirmed because of the Republican's supine cowardice in the face of being called "rayciss" by the NYT.

Im glad to hear the apiast program worked out so well. I find beekeeping to be an excellent balm for turgid emotions. Like I told a contemporary, you don't handle live bees angry. The ladies sense it, and they don't like it.

alba etie

Thank you Colonel Lang .

alba etie

My friends at the County Jail tell me that the beekeeping class is a very good 'anger management" learning environment . Apparently two bites out of three of everyone of our meals is from a pollination done by honey bees.
Enough hijacking this thread -
I certainly looks like any outcome for Ferguson will not end well. Supine cowardice is a nice turn of phrase though ...


I have to ruefully admit that a number of my fellow sailors would have qualified for "knuckle to the forelock' status. Gratefully, most of us managed to use only our fingertips!

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