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

Judging by the reflexive personal attacks and amateurish legal arguments, they fail to see they undermine their — and our — shared goals: the dismissal will be used by the defense in future civil rights law cases.

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J. Christian Adams

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July 19, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Since my testimony before the Civil Rights Commission under oath on July 6 about various corrupt policies relating to enforcement of election law at the Department of Justice, the left-wing soldiers on the internet have marched into action. They have made personal attacks and made multiple factual errors in defending the dismissal. This is unfortunate, because they are harming a cause they profess to support — the right to vote. 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.

My testimony has since been corroborated by at least four individuals with firsthand knowledge of the open hostility to race-neutral enforcement of the law inside the DOJ, and to enforcement of Section 8 of Motor Voter. Two of these witnesses did so under oath, and more will be coming forward to corroborate my testimony in the days and weeks ahead. (PJM has published some of the corroboration here, here, and here.)

Of course, the outstanding subpoena of former voting section chief Christopher Coates hangs over the DOJ like the Sword of Damocles, and over the head of those making personal attacks. Anyone who has spoken with Coates over the last few years knows exactly what his testimony will be. Anyone who has read his going-away speech to the entire voting section knows exactly what his testimony would be. And anyone familiar with the unimpeachable reputation of Coates knows his testimony will silence the phony personal attacks and move the discussion to where it belongs — how to fix things. Additional corroboration to my testimony, which Coates would provide, cannot be concealed forever.

No wonder the DOJ is so desperate to block his compliance with lawful subpoenas. We had expected so much more from this Justice Department sworn to restore integrity and transparency.

There are two important reasons why those defending the dismissal of the case through personal attacks should stand down.

Firstly, not only will the attacks prove absurd as more and more truth emerges about the matter, but the dismissal creates an unwelcome and dangerous factual floor in defining future voter intimidation. It is a floor we should fear, because it makes future cases harder to bring. Secondly, the dismissal undermines broad support for important voting rights protections as the nation becomes more racially diverse.

Neither outcome is what the defenders of the dismissal want, and they should reconsider their rabid attacks.

Think about this — even taking the facts in the most favorable light for the defenders of the dismissal, ponder how it restrains future enforcement activity against intimidation. There may come a day when two skinheads are in front of a poll, say, in suburban Atlanta. The precinct is 90 percent white, but about 10 percent African-American. One has a baseball bat, but the other does not. They are dressed identically in skinhead uniforms with swastika insignia. They work together and shout racial slurs we all know and hate. Worse, the week before, the national skinhead party had announced a nationwide deployment of skinheads, and these clowns show up on cue. NAACP poll monitors there to aid voters see voters turn away upon seeing the skinheads. The skinheads try to block the NAACP staff from entering the polls, and brandish the bat. The NAACP staff swear this all happened under oath. Then days later the national skinhead leader admits they were indeed deployed as part of the party activities and the use of the weapon was an “emergency response.”

Worse, after claiming to banish these two skinheads, video emerges with the national leader standing on stage with the two at a rally, praising them and welcoming them back into the skinhead nation.

Every American knows what should happen on these facts. Sadly, these facts are precisely identical to what happened in Philadelphia, except the races are reversed.

Someone with some intellectual honesty please explain to all of us something. In the future, how can the DOJ stop the behavior I described above? The dismissal of the case against the New Black Panthers harms future efforts to stop voter intimidation, especially on any fact pattern less egregious than what happened in Philadelphia.

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