The New Black Panther Fix

On January 26, I asked whether the fix was in at the Justice Department in its internal investigation of the New Black Panther Party case. Unfortunately, it looks as if the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Over Christmas, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed left-wing Democratic-party loyalist Robin Ashton to head up the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which is supposed to investigate ethics violations by DOJ lawyers. At the same time, Holder announced in the New York Times that those who dismissed the voter-intimidation lawsuit the DOJ had won did the right thing.

Former attorney general Michael Mukasey was shocked that Holder seemed to be instructing OPR officials what the results of their investigation should be — so much so that he spoke out publicly to criticize Holder, something Mukasey has resisted doing in other contexts. Thus, there was good reason to fear the fix was in.

Now, Christian Adams, former Justice Department career lawyer, has reported that OPR has finished its absurdly long probe into the politically motivated dismissal of the voter-intimidation case. As expected (and directed by Eric Holder in public statements), it will be a whitewash that concludes that none of the trial team’s supervisors “did anything improper.”

But as Adams says, the report will probably attack some members of the trial team that investigated and handled the litigation. Apparently, the reason the investigation has taken so long is because, rather than concentrating on the legal case against the New Black Panthers and the possible involvement of White House officials, OPR investigators have been trying to dig up irrelevant but scurrilous information that could be used to attack the credibility, character, and reputations of the trial team. The liberal ideologues in the Voting Section who oppose race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act are angry over the pursuit of the New Black Panther case and the Ike Brown case (the first DOJ case ever won under the Voting Rights Act against a black defendant). So they’ve apparently been feeding OPR gossip, innuendo, misrepresentations, and derogatory hearsay in order to get revenge on the lawyers who brought these two cases.

The unfairness and mendacity of this is outrageous. It is intended to distract the public, members of Congress, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights — which tried to investigate the DOJ’s wrongdoing — from what really happened in this case. Apparently, OPR has done its best, Adams notes, to ignore more than “120 pages of analysis and discussion provided by the four trial team lawyers,” as well as “hundreds of pages of exhibits.”

Adams says the OPR report is being sent up to the deputy attorney general this week for review; then it will be sent to the political appointees who head the Civil Rights Division. No doubt many within the DOJ will want to leak the report so that it can be used to attack the lawyers who filed this case, all of whom are consummate, ethical professionals. Too bad the same can’t be said of the attorney general, his new head of OPR, the biased investigators that staff that office, and the political appointees who run the Civil Rights Division.

The upside, if they do leak the report, is that we’ll have many more weeks with the New Black Panthers on the front pages — where the story deserves to be. That’s one thing you can bet the White House doesn’t want. That would increase the pressure on them to finally release the e-mails and other documents they have unlawfully withheld from the Civil Rights Commission and Congress.

The question is, which deceitful faction within the Justice Department will make the next move in this sordid tale of racial double standards, stonewalling, and false character assassination?

Hans A. von Spakovsky — Heritage Foundation – As a Senior Legal Fellow and Manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, Hans von Spakovsky concentrates on voting, ...

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