We wrote here and here about the Justice Department’s dismissal of a voter intimidation case against a group of armed Black Panthers who threatened would-be voters outside a polling place in Philadelphia. The Justice Department won the case after the defendants defaulted (a wise move by them, it turns out), but decided to give the victory away.
This struck us as another instance in which the Obama-Holder Justice Department made its decision based on political considerations, rather than considerations of justice. This was a case in which members of a political organization showed up at a polling place in uniform and carrying weapons for the announced purpose of providing “security.”
It seemed difficult to understand why the Justice Department would walk away from the case after securing a conviction, except by reference to the race of the thugs (African-American) and their political position (left-wing Democratic — one of them reportedly is a member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee).
Former Justice Department official Hans Von Spakovsky, posting for Heritage, provides confirmation of the political nature of the Justice Department’s decision in this case:
There is no doubt that this was one of the worst cases of voter intimidation the Department has seen in decades, but it was against militant black defendants, not white defendants. This is exactly the kind of situation that upsets the traditional civil rights community, which does not believe that federal voting rights laws should be used to protect white voters. The Department’s weak and belated explanation for the dismissal of this suit is frankly absurd.
The Department’s spokeswoman says that “the facts and the law did not support pursuing the claims.” Really? Then why is the Department refusing to allow the trial team who actually investigated the “facts and the law” or the chief of the Voting Section who supervised the investigation to brief members of Congress? We all know why – because those lawyers would dispute the spurious claim being made by their political superiors.
Justice even sent a letter to Cong. Lamar Smith claiming that one of the defendants was dismissed because he was a resident of the building in which the polling place was located, a “fact” that is completely false. The Department’s own pleadings publicly filed in court in Philadelphia, as well as a poll watcher certificate issued to the defendant by the Democratic Party, show that this defendant did not live at the polling place (a senior living center). This basic factual error shows just how unimportant the real facts were to those dismissing the case. And that defendant, whose MySpace page lists one of his general interests as “Killing Crakkkas,” was dismissed just in time to be reappointed as a poll watcher for the May 19 primary in Philadelphia!
To try to bolster this political decision, the acting head of the Civil Rights Division even ordered the Appellate Section in the Division to review the Voting Section’s work, something totally unprecedented. She must have been sorely disappointed when, in direct conflict to what the Department is now claiming, the Appellate Section provided an opinion that the case was completely justified. The acting head, by the way, although a career lawyer, is in a political position under the Vacancy Reform Act and was appointed by President Obama. I worked with her for four years when I was in the Civil Rights Division. She talked about resigning when I was there to run as a Democratic candidate in Maryland and is as political as any political appointee at Justice.
It has taken the Obama-Holder Justice Department only half a year to reveal itself as an utterly politicized entity. But given Holder’s conduct during his days in the Clinton Justice Department, this was entirely predictable.