A career Justice Department lawyer has resigned after the Obama administration defied a subpoena from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission is investigating the Administration’s politically-motivated dismissal of a voter intimidation lawsuit against members of the racist, anti-semitic New Black Panther Party. Career justice department lawyers brought and won the lawsuit, which was then dismissed by political appointees in the Justice Department, so that they could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Members of the New Black Panther Party, one of whom was an Obama campaign poll watcher and local Democratic official, used nightsticks and racial epithets to drive white voters away from the polls in a Philadelphia precinct. But the Obama administration killed a successful lawsuit against them, dismissing it after career Justice Department lawyers had already obtained a default judgment against the defendants (As a result of the dismissal, the only consequence for the defendants was a temporary injunction telling just one of the three defendants not to repeat his crimes in Philadelphia for a short period of time.) The New Black Panther Party, which attacks what it refers to as “bloodsucking Jews,” is recognized as a racist, anti-semitic hate group even by liberal civil-rights groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center.
After the case was dismissed, the Civil Rights Commission began investigating the Obama administration’s actions. The administration ordered the career attorneys who had worked on the lawsuit to remain silent and not comply with the Commission’s investigation (contrary to federal law, which mandates that “all Federal agencies shall cooperate fully with the Commission“), and refused either to comply with the Commission’s subpoenas, or to bring a motion to quash the subpoena (which is the appropriate step to take if a subpoena is somehow invalid). This left the subpoena and one of the career lawyers “in limbo” and in apparent violation of the law, forcing him to run up thousands of dollars in legal bills. (The other lawyer was transferred to the civil-service equivalent of Siberia to take him “out of reach of the subpoena power of the Civil Rights Commission.”)
Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams, who helped bring the lawsuit, “resigned in obvious disgust” at its dismissal and the administration’s stonewalling. The other career lawyer most responsible for bringing the voter intimidation case, former Voting Rights Section Chief Christopher Coates, has a liberal pedigree: he was formerly with the “Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.” Yet both Coates and Adams have been depicted as “right-wing activists” by “liberal media outlets” and unnamed Obama administration officials–apparently because those officials “don’t believe the voting rights laws should ever be enforced against blacks and other minorities.”
(The idea that the civil rights laws do not protect whites or apply to minorities was rejected by a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in 1976, in an opinion authored by the black justice and civil-rights icon Thurgood Marshall. See McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Co. There are limited to exceptions to bans on race discrimination for affirmative action, but they do not apply to voting, as the Supreme Court made clear in its 7-to-2 ruling in Rice v. Cayetano (2000). In his 2008 campaign, Obama promised “change,” and apparently that change includes a departure from basic legal norms that even liberal judges like Thurgood Marshall, and liberal lawyers like Christian Adams and Christopher Coates took for granted. If you want to work in the Obama Justice Department, you had better disagree with the Supreme Court.)
“Career lawyers pursued the case for months, including obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as ‘the most blatant form of voter intimidation’ that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago.” But Obama’s political appointees at the Justice Department overruled them, dropping the case after victory was already assured because “the court had already entered a default judgment against the” Black Panthers. Thanks to that outrageous decision, the only result of the case was a meaningless injunction telling one of the three defendants not to commit such crimes again (and telling him not to commit such crimes only until 2012, and not barring him from committing such crimes in his home city, but rather barring such crimes only in Philadelphia).
As the Washington Times notes,
The Voting Rights Act is very clear. It prohibits any ‘attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce’ any voter or those aiding voters. The explanation for moving to dismiss the case is shocking. According to the Department of Justice: ‘These same Defendants have made no appearance and have filed no pleadings with the Court. Nor have they otherwise raised any other defenses to this action. Therefore, the United States has the right … to dismiss voluntarily this action against the Defendants.’ In other words, because the defendants haven’t tried to defend themselves, the Justice Department won’t punish them. By that logic, if a murderer doesn’t respond to the charges, he should be let free. That’s crazy. The Obama Justice Department did take one action against one of the four defendants: It forbade him from again ‘displaying a weapon within 100 feet of any open polling location’ in Philadelphia. Given that it already was illegal to display a weapon at a polling place and that he was not even enjoined from carrying a weapon at polling places outside of Philadelphia, it is hard to see what this order accomplished. We asked the Justice Department if it was unable to provide any explanation for dropping the case. Justice press aide Alejandro Miyar merely said: ‘That is correct.’ Multiple times we asked both the department and the White House to comment on charges that the dismissals represented political bias. We received no substantive response. Hans Von Spakovsky, a legal scholar at the Heritage Foundation and a former commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, tells us, ‘In my experience, I have never heard of the department refusing to take a default judgment… . If a Republican administration had done this, it would be front-page news and every civil rights group in the country would be screaming about it.’ Consider that the behavior of the defendants was so bad that witness Bartle Bull, a former Robert F. Kennedy organizer who did extensive legal work on behalf of black voters in Mississippi, testified it was “the most blatant form of voter discrimination I have encountered in my life.’ Eric Eversole, a former litigation attorney with the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, told us: ‘It is truly unprecedented for the Voting Section to voluntarily dismiss a case of such blatant intimidation. The video speaks for itself.’ We couldn’t agree more. After the 2000 Presidential election, Democrats complained about voter intimidation in Florida by pointing to a police car that had been two miles away from a polling place. The police didn’t do anything to anyone, but their presence was deemed sufficient to vaguely intimidate people en route to the polls. In this case, the New Black Panther Party actually blocked access to a poll. Unlike the Florida incident, this case involving the New Black Panthers screams out for tough justice. Instead, the Obama administration looks the other way. This all but invites racial violence at future elections.
In 2008, Obama disingenuously complained about the supposed “politicization” of the Justice Department under Bush. But Obama has politicized the Justice Department far more than Bush was accused of doing. Obama’s Justice Department has given a green light to unconstitutional bills pushed by liberal congressmen that even liberal Justice Department attorneys have conceded are unconstitutional. It has been deafeningly silent about blatant voter fraud and voter intimidation committed by black officials, chronicled in a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. And it did little to prevent violations of the voting rights of overseas soldiers and sailors that may have tipped election results in the Minnesota Senate race (which provided the deciding vote in the Senate for passage of the costly new health care law) and the New York special Congressional election.