The testimony of Christopher Coates before the United States Civil Rights Commission exposed a pervasive hostility to equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, as well as racialist policies at the Justice Department. He also exposed the intellectual bankruptcy of the defenders of the dismissal of the New Black Panther case.
The testimony was covered by CNN and the Los Angeles Times, and was on the front page, above the fold, in the Washington Post. Yet ABC, NBC, and CBS devoted no coverage to his testimony.
But while the networks were willfully ignorant, some internet media abandoned any pretense of reporting on the story with integrity.
Christian Science Monitor
Law professor Allan Lichtman confessed to the Christian Science Monitor what we have said all along — that many, including he, are hostile to equal enforcement of the law:
You can try to force [the Voting Rights Act] to be equal, but it’s not. … If these are the worst examples you can find, then, by God, white people in America are pretty safe.
Lichtman regularly serves as an expert in Voting Rights Act litigation. He is listed as a “consultant on voting rights to the United States Department of Justice.” Any attorney doing Lichtman’s expert deposition in the future should spend a great deal of time developing evidence on his unequal and racialist view of the Voting Rights Act.
Sorry professor, the law is race-neutral.
Perhaps the most intellectually bankrupt commentary on Coates came from Mary Jacoby, writing for Main Justice — a blog set up in the halcyon days of early 2009 to be the mouthpiece of the Obama DOJ. Flush with seed money, they became Eric Holder’s Pravda.
In the last month, Main Justice has lost 30 percent of its readership, and gets approximately 1/200th the page views of PJM.
Jacoby trotted out all of the intellectually bankrupt attacks. Obviously disappointed that she failed in her task at keeping the New Black Panthers story bottled up, Jacoby lamented:
The goal of conservatives who nurtured this story was always to get them validated by a non-ideological respected mainstream outlet. Now they’ve done it, thanks to a deluge of calls [to the Washington Post ombudsman.]
Really? That was the goal?
Maybe, in a world where ultimate truth doesn’t exist, would publication on the front page of the Washington Post matter. Maybe to people whose lives exist to advance their own agenda, or to be a handmaiden for a government, skewed motives lurk everywhere.
But the New Black Panther case has always been about a simpler, more important question: are we a nation that enforces the law equally?
Jacoby trots out the meaningless question of frequency: Are there “massive numbers of white voters in America who are being kept from the polls”? Of course, the words “massive numbers” never appear in the Voting Rights Act. In fact, if there is a number, it is zero — the law bans even the attempt to intimidate.
This was an intentional change in 1965, which Jacoby and the other Holder sycophants ignore. Without the change, perfectly successful acts of intimidation would not be illegal. A Klan rally at the entrance to a poll that succeeded in keeping all black voters home would be perfectly fine using Mary Jacoby’s version of statutory interpretation — unless, of course, the race of the victim matters.
Which apparently it does to Jacoby.
This is the dirty little secret we knew all along: people like Mary Jacoby, former Assistant Attorney General Loretta King, and Professor Allan Lichtman really don’t believe the protections of the law apply to whites.
Let’s not forget that the Civil Rights Division exists because of racial discrimination against blacks.
OK, we haven’t forgotten. But what would you have us do with that?
Are we to put a thumb on the scale for a black defendant like New Black Panther Jerry Jackson when he breaks the law? Should we allow evidence of the heroism of Rosa Parks and Medgar Evers to excuse the armed thug King Samir Shabazz?
It is refreshing, actually, to see someone who has so steadfastly defended the DOJ at last reveal what we knew all along. Up until the devastating testimony of Coates, it was all about the political views of the attorneys on the case, George Bush, and how career people alone made the decision. Now, they confess the truth: they believe the law should not be used to protect whites.
You would think Jacoby might feel betrayed by the Justice officials who lied to her about who ordered the dismissal, but that is not the case. Over and over, the dismissal was characterized by Justice officials as a mere dispute between lowly civil servants, until Judicial Watch blew that lie up with the release of DOJ documents last week showing the number two and number three officials in Justice were involved in spiking the case.
It is intellectually bankrupt for Jacoby to carry water still for someone who has been lying to her for months. It’s also embarrassing.
They claim there was no widespread “pattern” of New Black Panther voter intimidation, disingenuously adding words to the law, and also ignoring facts: the New Black Panther Party announced a nationwide deployment on Election Day.
It is intellectually bankrupt both to alter the legal standard and to ignore empirical facts.
The American Prospect
The American Prospect borrows a page from the Trotskyite playbook, figuring a personal smear is all it takes to make the story go away: “Coates Defends Brad Schlozman,” screams their headline.
Of course most people outside of a small inside-the-beltway audience are asking — who is Brad Schlozman? What does this have to do with the New Black Panthers?
To the American Prospect, apparently everything. Schlozman was the acting assistant attorney general for Civil Rights during the Bush years. His tenure became an obsession among those now defending the Department’s dismissal of the NBPP lawsuit. According to this bankrupt theory, since I was hired in 2005, and since Coates called Schlozman a friend, whether or not we told the truth no longer matters.
I am reminded of Solzhenitsyn’s observation of the mad world around him. Guilt or innocence no longer mattered in Solzhenitsyn’s world, truth and falsehood were obsolete:
The heart of the matter is not personal guilt, but social danger. One can imprison an innocent person if he is socially dangerous. And one can release a guilty man if he is socially friendly.
Never once do the intellectually bankrupt at the American Prospect contest the veracity of Coates’ testimony. No mention about what Coates said about Schlozman — namely, that accusing Schlozman of ideological hiring is high hypocrisy. Both the Clinton and Obama administrations had no standing to criticize Schlozman: it would be akin to Jersey Shore’s Snooki complaining about the flamboyant dress of Lady GaGa, Coates said. The American Prospect made no mention of the hiring practices in both Democratic administrations.
No mention of those transgressions — after all, they were committed by the “socially friendly.”
Partisan Spin from Michael Yaki
At the hearing, Commissioner Michael Yaki tediously sniped at the contents of an email I sent in December 2008 to a person who managed the eyewitnesses in Philadelphia. My email discussed the need to obtain a “narrative” as soon as possible.
What Yaki doesn’t mention is that the “narrative” I sought was, literally, a narrative: a written statement from a witness in the conventional sense, not the PR definition of “narrative.” We knew there was an African-American witness inside the polls who might testify about a tiny part of the case, over and above what we already had as evidence.
I was trying to figure out who the person was. A narrative timeline naming everyone involved would allow us to focus our investigation. It’s called being thorough.
But Michael Yaki, clearly rattled by the bombshell testimony of Coates, used the email to paint a disingenuous portrait of an incomplete and rushed investigation. His portrait represented more intellectual bankruptcy from defenders of the racialist policies of the DOJ.
DOJ Spokesperson Tracy Schmaler
Tracy Schmaler, the DOJ press spokesperson with the assignment of defending the indefensible, has become unhinged.
I have spoken with numerous media sources who say that she acts unprofessionally. She explodes, yelling when discussing the scandal. Another individual with personal contact with Schmaler reports she becomes irrationally agitated when the New Black Panther scandal is brought up, even in casual conversation.
Schmaler has done what none of her predecessors have ever dared do — criticize and run down the institution of the DOJ.
People are paying attention. Former officials have told me that Schmaler’s criticism of the Bush Justice Department as being politicized and corrupt has crossed a line nobody ever crosses: criticizing her client. She represents the same client that Mark Corallo, for instance, represented when he served as the spokesman at DOJ in the Bush administration — Corrallo would never have attacked decisions made during the Clinton administration.
Let the DNC or White House be the attack dog — Schmaler’s job is to represent the DOJ, not a political agenda.
Schmaler also attacked the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Eric Holder should teach her some manners, respect for the institution she represents, and the importance of not misleading reporters.
None of the water-carriers for Holder discuss the facts as laid out by Coates.
There was no mention of Loretta King’s corrupt command not to ask interview questions of attorney applicants if they can enforce the law fairly. Nobody discussed the bombshell that instructions were given that racially equal enforcement of the law was not allowed. Apologists are still futilely advancing the spin we’ve heard for months — but after Christopher Coates, nobody is paying attention to it anymore.
These intellectually bankrupt tactics overlook the central question in the controversy — does it violate federal law to block the entrance to a poll while brandishing a weapon and shouting racial slurs?
After the testimony of Christopher Coates, the answer is “yes” to nearly every American.