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Contentions

The Plot Thickens

The Obama Justice Department had been stonewalling on multiple requests for an explanation as to why the Obama administration has dismissed a default judgment against the New Black Panther Party for egregious voter intimidation captured on video tape. The Washington Times, in an op-ed, remarked:

For some reason, the Justice Department is covering for the Black Panthers. For months, congressmen have asked the Justice Department a simple question: How could the department drop one of the worst voter-intimidation cases ever? The department’s only explanation was revealed in its dismissal filing with the court; the case was dropped because the defendants, two members of the New Black Panthers, offered no defense.

( Well, Eric Holder is plainly occupied with thinking up ways to prosecute members of the intelligence community who labored to keep their fellow citizens safe after 9-11.)

Rep. Lamar Smith, together with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has been demanding answers. He has received no reply and also wrote an op-ed:

If Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. truly believes the Justice Department had legitimate reasons to dismiss the case against the New Black Panther Party, why not make those reasons public? Without an explanation, the only logical conclusion is that this was political payback to a group that helped elect Mr. Obama even though its help crossed legal lines.

[. . .]

If the Obama administration will not be forthright about the real reason behind the dismissal of this case, the inspector general should take action and open an investigation. Until then, the integrity of the Justice Department and our election process will remain in question.

The Justice Department is now trying to pin this on the career lawyers. The Hill reports:

A spokeswoman for Justice said facts did not back up the charges, and that career officials at Justice, not political appointees, decided to drop the charges.

“Following a thorough review, a career attorney in the Civil Rights Division determined that the facts and the law did not support pursuing the claims against three of the defendants,” spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said. “As a result, the Department dismissed those claims.”

However, sources with direct knowledge of the matter tell me this is categorically false. Loretta King, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, is in a political position. And it is doubtful she would have signed off on the dismissal without approval or authorization from higher-ups. And what do the real career lawyers think of this? One lawyer in the Justice Department familiar with the facts and circumstances of the dismissal says bluntly that “the facts and law were so solid even the appellate section of the Civil Rights Division recommended a default. The claim the facts and law weren’t there has absolutely no merit.”

It seems as though a full inquiry is in order. If, in fact, the Justice Department dismissed the case for spurious reasons, failed to pursue a “slam-dunk” case of egregious voter intimidation and is now misrepresenting the situation, it would be serious indeed.


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