J. Christian Adams: Why the Left Shouldn’t Defend the New Black Panther Dismissal

Published Mon, Jul 19 2010 9:11 AM

In response to several attacks he has received in response to his allegations against the Department of Justice, RNLA member and former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams has criticized the left for "harming a cause they profess to support – the right to vote." Adams calls the dismissal of the New Black Panther case "a genuine tragedy that should concern those on the left."

In their reflexive personal attacks and amateurish legal arguments, they fail to see they are undermining their own long-term goals, namely vigorous enforcement of voter intimidation and civil rights laws. Perhaps it is not too late for the more reasonable among them to understand their approach to the New Black Panther dismissal is suicidal.

Adams points out that his "testimony has since been corroborated by at least four others with firsthand knowledge of the open hostility to race-neutral enforcement of the law inside the DOJ, and to the enforcement of the Section 8 of Motor Voter." Moreover, he mentions that it will further be corroborated by more witnesses, including former voting section chief Christopher Coates, who resigned for the same reasons and has thus far been prevented from testifying by his superiors at DOJ. Read Coates' resignation speech here.

Adams describes two strong reasons why those on the left who have been defending the dismissal of the New Black Panther case through personal attacks, should reconsider. First, he argues that the dismissal will hamper the success of future cases because it "creates an unwelcome and dangerous factual floor in defining future intimidation." Second, the dismissal undermines support for a broad civil rights agenda," which becomes increasingly more important as our country becomes more racially diverse. Read Adams' article in its entirety here.

Read more about the New Black Panther dismissal from an excerpt of the RNLA's recent Election Law Update:

RNLA Member J. Christian Adams Exposes Another Justice Department Scandal 

Former DOJ Attorney and RNLA Member J. Christian Adams has come forward with allegations that Justice Department officials under the Obama administration forced the dismissal of a "slam dunk" voter intimidation case regarding the New Black Panther party (NBPP) and its  activity in 2008 at a polling place in Philadelphia.  The case was filed under the Bush administration and the Court granted default judgment, meaning the case was won.  When the new administration came in, all that needed to be done was the entering of sanctions against the defendants. However, Adams, one of five attorneys on the trial team, revealed that before this could happen, political appointees ordered them to drop the charges against the NBPP.

The 1965 Voting Rights Act protects voters from intimidation at the polls.  In 2008, witnesses testified and captured on video the New Black Panthers standing outside of a polling place in Philadelphia tapping a nightstick, menacing, attempting to keep people away from the polls, and making comments such as, "You're about to be ruled by the black man, cracker," and calling voters "white devils."  In a Fox News interview, Megyn Kelly asked Adams:  "Is there any question in your mind that that violates the law?"  Adams replied without hesitation, "No, nor anybody who worked on the case.  It's the easiest case I ever had at the Justice Department.  It doesn't get any easier than this.  If this doesn't constitute voter intimidation, nothing will."

On May 18, Adams, a veteran lawyer in the Voting Section of the Justice Department, announced his resignation from DOJ.  In his resignation letter, Adams outlined his reasons for doing so and noted that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights had launched an investigation into the dismissal of the NBPP case and his testimony was subpoenaed, as well as another attorney on the trial team (who also resigned from DOJ as a result of the dismissal of the case), but that they had initially been ordered by their superiors at DOJ not to testify – a violation of federal law.

The Weekly Standard conducted their own investigation of the allegations, obtaining documents and conducting interviews with Justice personnel.  In a lengthy article, they noted:

From the onset, Justice has denied that any political appointees were involved in the decision to dismiss the case. This line was repeated in multiple letters to and face-to-face meetings with Republican representatives Frank Wolf and Lamar Smith and in statements to the media. We now know that this is incorrect. In interrogatory answers supplied to the civil rights commission, the department acknowledged that Attorney General Eric Holder was briefed on the decision to dismiss the case and that the number three man in Justice, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, was consulted as well. Katsas testified, "Certainly DoJ's decision to abandon all claims against the party, Malik Shabazz, and Mr. Jackson [the second polling place intimidator], despite their refusal to even defend the case, would have qualified as important enough for the leadership of the Civil Rights Division to raise with [Perrelli]." The same is true of the decision to seek only a narrow injunction against the billy club-wielding defendant. He notes that the filing of the case may have been routine, but the decision to dismiss it was so extraordinary that someone of Perrelli's rank must certainly have played an "active role."

The article concludes:

While the interference by political appointees in the NBPP case has been egregious, there is a critical issue with implications far beyond this single case: Whether the attorneys who populate the civil rights division of the Justice Department believe that civil rights laws exist only to protect minorities from discrimination and intimidation by whites.

This question may be dead on.  Adams further alleges that a political appointee in the Department of Justice issued a mandate that the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division would not be pursuing types of cases in which the defendant is African American and victim is Caucasian. 

Moreover, as The Wall Street Journal reported:

 [Adams] testified that last year Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes made a jaw-dropping announcement to attorneys in Justice's Voting Rights section. She said she would not support any enforcement of a key section of the federal "Motor Voter" law -- Section 8, which requires states to periodically purge their voter rolls of dead people, felons, illegal voters and those who have moved out of state.

 According to Mr. Adams, Justice lawyers were told by Ms. Fernandes: "We're not interested in those kind of cases. What do they have to do with helping increase minority access and turnout? We want to increase access to the ballot, not limit it."

One thing seems to have emerged quite clearly in recent months, "The more this story develops, the more it appears Justice is engaged in a massive cover-up of its politicization of voting rights cases."

The story of the Obama Justice Department's questionable handling of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case of 2008 continues to gain momentum as the true story begins to surface.  Watch voters' reaction to the case at a Town Hall Meeting here.  Read what Hans von Spakovsky, an RNLA member and former FEC Commissioner, had to say about the case in National Review here.  Keep up to date with this story as it develops by checking out J. Christian Adams' new blog here.  Please also see the "Oversight" page of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Ranking Member on the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee, for updates on his effort to persuade Democrats in Congress to address the NBPP cover-up. 

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