Ethics Outrage and Cover-Up: Racial Bias At the Justice Department

The story told by former Department of Justice attorney J. Christian Adams is shocking in many ways. It shows an abject refusal of Attorney General Holder’s D.O.J. to enforce the law equally with black and white. It shows sympathy within the Obama Administration for, of all, groups, the Black Panthers, a racist organization. It details perjury by high-ranking officials, and a hard breach of President Obama’s pledges to uphold the rule of law, embrace transparency, and to embody a post-racial philosophy. Finally, it shows the same kind of manipulation of law enforcement by ideological zealots that stained the Bush Department of Justice.

This is not an alleged scandal that should only interest the Tea Parties, Republicans, or conservative talk radio. This is, if true, a legal, ethical and political outrage that should offend and concern Americans of all races, party affiliations and political persuasions. Nevertheless, a check of the news media indicates that if you do not watch Fox News, read the Washington Times, settle in with Rush Limbaugh or cruise the conservative blogs, you have no idea what I am talking about. The mainstream media—-the major networks, CNN, the Washington Post, USA Today, the New York Times and the rest—have decided that this story is not as important as, to take the Post as an example, an unflattering cartoon of Nancy Pelosi being circulated by a conservative group, or the fact that an accused Russian spy is, like, a total babe.

It is clearly being pigeon-holed by the media as a “conservative story,” like the presence of “truther” Van Jones in a White House policy position, like the revelation that climate scientists were using a university mailing list to discuss how to suppress opposing scientific views, like the corruption and mismanagement within ACORN. As with these stories, the only reasons the Black Panther voter intimidation case could be deemed unworthy of coverage are 1) an intense bias toward the conservative media, leading to a presumption that any report that reflects badly on the Obama administration must have been manufactured or distorted, 2) an intense bias in favor of the Obama Administration and its policies, causing editors and reporters to ignore stories that will hurt “the cause”, 4) an intentional effort by the press to assist a cover-up by causing the public to ignore a legitimate story because only Glenn Beck and Red State are talking about it, creating the rebuttable presumption that it is hooey, or 3) stupidity and a flat learning curve. Again and again,  the mainstream media has been embarrassed when “conservative” stories could no longer be buried and various ombudsmen and “public editors” had to explain why their paper was weeks late covering what later proved to be genuine and significant.

Adams is now talking, and the spectacle of a distinguished civil rights attorney who worked in both Republican and Democrat administrations turning whistleblower and discussing the details of a race-based cover-up in Obama’s Justice Department is not going to be so easy to shut out.  This is not some over-heated partisan fantasy. Verified video shows two paramilitary-clad members of the New Black Panthers standing outside a Philadelphia polling place during the 2008 elections. One of them has a billyclub. Credible witnesses reported that the men shouted epithets to white voters and even tried to block their access to the polls.  Adams wrote…

“After the election, the [Bush] Justice Department brought a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and those armed thugs. I and other Justice attorneys diligently pursued the case and obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the charges. Before a final judgment could be entered in May 2009, our superiors ordered us to dismiss the case. The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney.

The federal voter-intimidation statutes we used against the New Black Panthers were enacted because America never realized genuine racial equality in elections. Threats of violence characterized elections from the end of the Civil War until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Before the Voting Rights Act, blacks seeking the right to vote, and those aiding them, were victims of violence and intimidation….Based on my firsthand experiences, I believe the dismissal of the Black Panther case was motivated by a lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law. Others still within the department share my assessment. The department abetted wrongdoers and abandoned law-abiding citizens victimized by the New Black Panthers. The dismissal raises serious questions about the department’s enforcement neutrality in upcoming midterm elections and the subsequent 2012 presidential election.”

Well, of course it does. The Civil Rights Commission has undertaken an investigation of this case, though that body has seldom demonstrated any serious interest in instances of black civil rights violations against white victims. After the 2000 election, Democratic activists were claiming voter intimidation of black voters on the basis of stern looks and unfriendly tones of voice by white poll workers; it is absolutely inconceivable that jackbooted, club wielding white thugs claiming to be “security” wouldn’t have been prosecuted for voter intimidation to the fullest extent of the law. Media Matters, the supposed media “watchdog” that oddly seems to never see any problem with negative news reports about conservatives and Republicans, while declaring every negative news story about liberals and Democrats dishonest and biased, outdid itself by condemning reports on the Black Panther story on the grounds that 1) Adams is a conservative, as if conservatives can magically conjure up videos of voter intimidation, and 2) some of his story is “hearsay”, as when he told Fox’s Megyn Kelly that  a senior Justice Department election law specialist was outraged when a superior announced that the case wasn’t going forward. Here’s that segment:

ADAMS: …Steve Rosenbaum hadn’t even read the memos which detailed all of the facts and the law before he started arguing against the case. The mind was made up. And it was so derelict and so corrupt that Chris Coates actually threw the memo at Rosenbaum and said, “How dare you make these arguments without even knowing what’s in the briefs?”

KELLY: So your boss, the guy who had been a career DOJ lawyer, voting-rights lawyer, throws the memo, throws a brief at the head of this guy Steve Rosenbaum?

ADAMS: He very passionately believed in the merits of this case and very much opposed corruption of this sort, and he was angry.

KELLY: What was the response? I mean, that’s an extraordinary story.

ADAMS: I don’t know. I wasn’t there.

KELLY: But this came to you from Coates.

ADAMS: Correct.

KELLY: And you have no doubt that it occurred?

ADAMS: There’s no question about it, it occurred.

In other words, Adams knows Coats and believes his account. It is true that this is hearsay testimony regarding whether the incident occurred as described, but the fact that Coats told Adams this is not hearsay. Adams has first-hand knowledge of what Coats said. It’s not admissible in court to prove what happened between Coats and his boss, but Adams knows what he heard, and believes the speaker. Media Matters, in other words, as it usually does, is blowing smoke to avoid a legitimate inquiry.

If what Adams says is true–and Justice Department lawyers do not usually quit their jobs over imaginary malfeasance—that a decision by Justice Department line attorneys that the Philadelphia incident was a clear-cut and egregious violation of the voter intimidation laws was over-ruled for political reasons, then these things are also likely to be true:

  • The Obama administration is politicizing the operations of Justice Department and law enforcement as much as the unacceptable degree to which it was politicized under Bush, or worse,
  • Justice Department officials are obstructing justice,
  • One or more Justice Department officials have committed perjury,
  • The Administration that was promised to be race-blind and dedicated to openness is neither,
  • Voter intimidation of white voters is tolerated and, by being so, tacitly encouraged by this Administration,
  • The Administration’s political zealots from the Left who are making such epically stupid decisions as to cater to followers of the New Black Panthers, thereby risking a loss of trust in Obama’s fairness by white citizens—without which he cannot govern or continue in power—are every bit as dangerous and foolish as the political zealots from the Right that corrupted the previous administration.

Oh yes…one more thing is true.

It is a legitimate news story that every American has a right to know and needs to know. If the mainstream media won’t do its job, we should circulate the story ourselves.

5 thoughts on “Ethics Outrage and Cover-Up: Racial Bias At the Justice Department

  1. Thuggery flourishes, and now it seems there are a lot of years of discrimination to make up for in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

  2. Pingback: Ethics Outrage and Cover-Up: Racial Bias At the Justice Department … « Kill All The Lawyers Blog

  3. Pingback: The Justice Department’s Voter Intimidation Cover-Up: The Blue Line Breaks « Ethics Alarms

  4. Pingback: Embarrassed into Covering the New « Ethics Alarms

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