American Hero: Coates Negates a Year of Justice Department Spin on New Black Panther Case
We no longer must consult history for a lawyer-hero willing to take personal risk for sacred principles such as the rule of law and racial equality. Our age can claim Christopher Coates.
September 23, 2010 - 5:28 am
It has been a very bad week for the dwindling number of people defending the dismissal of the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party by Eric Holder’s Justice Department. Today might have been the worst day of all. Former Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates testified to the United States Civil Rights Commission that Obama political appointees dismissed the case because they are opposed to enforcing civil rights laws in a racially neutral fashion.
And that was just the beginning.
In a dramatic hearing in Washington, D.C., Coates simply destroyed the year-long spin from the Justice Department regarding the dismissal. Coates is the former Voting Section chief, and served as lead attorney on the Black Panther case. He has practiced voting rights law longer than any other lawyer at the Justice Department. His testimony today was the worst possible nightmare for the Obama political officials responsible for the dismissal.
I testified before the Commission in July that Obama political appointee Julie Fernandes made it clear that the Voting Section at the Justice Department would not be bringing any more cases against traditional national racial minorities, like the members of the New Black Panthers. Under oath, Coates corroborated my testimony.
The public has been wondering for over a year why the case was dismissed. Coates testified why today:
[There is a] deep-seated opposition to the race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of whites who have been discriminated against.
Coates verified that the DOJ is infested with racially motivated hostility towards equal enforcement of the law. Like me, Coates testified about the history of open and pervasive hostility inside the Voting Section to protecting the rights of white voters. This hostility first emerged in the case against Ike Brown in Noxubee County, Mississippi, going back as far as 2004:
The opposition within the Voting Section to taking actions on behalf of white voters in Noxubee County, Mississippi, … was widespread.
Coates confirmed that senior managers didn’t even want to open the investigation into discrimination against white voters in Noxubee County:
The Deputy Chief who was leading that election coverage asked me: “can you believe that we are going to Mississippi to protect white voters?”
Coates described how his memoranda were doctored by former Voting Section Chief Joe Rich, confirming my testimony as well as an article that appeared here at PJM this week.
Coates also testified that he was reprimanded by Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King when he asked attorneys in job interviews if they could enforce the law equally. Coates asked them if they were willing to enforce the law in a racially neutral fashion, regardless of the race of the wrongdoer, even if the wrongdoer was black. Naturally, this inquiry into the applicant’s sense of fairness greatly offended the racially obsessed King. Her agenda was quite different than Coates’ agenda. Coates testified he was summoned to the senior political offices for a tongue-lashing by King, and the interview questions Coates was asking had to go:
King took offense that I was asking such a question of job applicants and directed me not to ask it again because she does not support equal enforcement of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
King wanted like-minded attorneys who were corruptly willing to turn a blind eye toward racial discrimination committed by national racial minorities. Soon thereafter, Coates was stripped of his power even to interview applicants. King wasn’t taking any chances that fair-minded, law-abiding attorneys might slip through — only the corrupt need apply.