New Congressional leaders have begun their investigations into the most potent scandal facing the Obama administration, one that seems destined to expose injustice at the highest levels of government. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX, the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has opened a probe into the Justice Department’s handling of the Black Panther case in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. Smith is looking into whether the case’s dismissal, and the underlying culture of the department’s Voting Rights division, show a decision to deny justice to a broad category of Americans based on race. In the five-page letter, Smith writes, “Allegations that the Civil Rights Division has engaged in a practice of race-biased enforcement of voting rights law must be investigated by the Committee.”
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In his sworn testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, whistleblower Christopher Coates — who then headed the Voting Rights division — testified to a “deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the” law “for the protection of white voters.” J. Christian Adams agreed that the department indicated it would not prosecute cases against a minority defendant on behalf of a white plaintiff. Coates remembered Julie Fernandes, Obama’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, telling DoJ employees “the Obama administration was only interested in bringing…cases that would provide political equality for racial and language minority voters.”
Four other employees have spoken of the department’s hostility to enforcing the law against minorities, two having sworn affidavits to that effect.
Smith singled out the another reported refusal by Fernandes in his letter: an alleged determination not to enforce a provision of the National Voter Registration Act (known as the “Motor Voter Law”) requiring localities to purge the voting rolls of dead and ineligible voters. Smith asked if Fernandes opted to “explicitly or implicitly direct Voting Section staff not to enforce any section of any federal rights statute.”
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Fernandes seems to have admitted as much in public. Discussing that specific section, she publicly stated, “We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.”
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The refusal to enforce any law is troubling in itself. The well-grounded possibility that the federal government is denying justice on racial grounds is a fundamental perversion of government that strikes at the very heart of our national principles. In endorsing an investigation, National Review‘s Andrew McCarthy wrote, “It is a grave violation of law for the Justice Department to practice racial discrimination in deciding which cases it will bring, to determine that Americans of one race or class are not entitled to the same protection as all Americans…Under the Constitution, it is Congress’s obligation to stop it.”
Congress similarly has the duty to determine where this policy originated, and whether officials who publicly deny its existence are guilty of perjury or obstruction of justice. Thomas Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, testified on May 14 that the decision to drop the case was simply “a case of career people disagreeing with career people,” and that no “political leadership involved in the decision not to pursue this particular case.” However, the watchdog group Judicial Watch has uncovered proof of significant political involvement in lobbying on behalf of the Panthers. Did Perez commit perjury? If so, how high did the political pressure go? Who handed down the decision to dispense race-based “justice”? How high does the cover-up of this decision reach? Namely, did the attorney general or the president of the United States himself suborn perjury?
Answering these questions will require vigilance and indefatigable tenacity. Their answers threaten to blow apart the Justice Department and possibly uncover an ugly core of racial discrimination at the heart of the Obama administration.