Today the Washington Post graces its front page with a long overdue expose on the dismissal of the New Black Panther case. The story is extremely bad news for the Eric Holder Justice Department. Through multiple deep sourcing within the Voting Section and Civil Rights Division, it confirms everything that Christopher Coates and I testified about before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. But that isn’t the biggest shocker of the Post piece. It also has administration officials defending the dismissal by arguing that the civil rights laws weren’t intended to protect whites. Alas, they confess to their true beliefs after more than a year of lies and misdirection.
This is the worst possible news for the wrongdoers at DOJ, a week before the midterm elections. While purely anecdotal, I have received numerous emails from people around the country confessing their own mea culpa: that they once could not believe the DOJ could act in racially discriminatory fashion, but now they do. Mounting evidence moves minds.
The Post story is largely fair and factual. It does omit the fact that the New Black Panthers are a virulent anti-Semitic organization who routinely rage against “the Jews!” and who have called for the murder of “cracker babies in their cribs.” One can only presume that one of the two authors of the piece did not want to remind readers of the vilest views of this outfit.
It strangely renames King Samir Shabazz. Shabazz was born with a “slave name” of Maruse Heath. Shabazz calls it his slave name and thus he abandoned it at least a decade ago. Again, this editorial decision seems to insulate Shabazz. A friend commented to me that if the Post were covering a transvestite, say “Walter,” but who went by the phony name of “Wendy,” the Post would defer to Wendy’s wishes. This may be true or it may not. But as one commentator has pointed out, “even Heath does not call himself Heath.” Only the Post does.
Lastly, it also gives short shrift to the worsening predicament that various Justice Department officials are in regarding statements to Congress and the public, sometimes under oath. This is the real tragic part of the controversy. The cover-up is always worse. For example, administration officials told the Civil Rights Commission they were unaware of any hostile attitudes in the DOJ toward equal enforcement of the law. Others have run interference for them in communications to Congress and the Commission. In the old days, the Washington Post had a name for this behavior.
Then comes the bombshell. The Post article quotes an unnamed DOJ official defending the decision to dismiss the case because the civil rights laws don’t apply to whites. The Post reports:
“The Voting Rights Act was passed because people like Bull Connor were hitting people like John Lewis, not the other way around,” said one Justice Department official not authorized to speak publicly, referring to the white Alabama police commissioner who cracked down on civil rights protesters such as Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia.
This is an astonishing admission. It confirms what we have been saying all along. It is also the tip of the iceberg. The crooked defense of racially selective law enforcement has many more storylines, and I heard them all when I worked there.
I wrote at PJM last summer:
To the many who expressed such hostility, often thoughtful but wrong, it would be a help to all of us if they might engage the debate with the respectable tenor which they sometimes did when I was in the Department of Justice. After all, such opponents of race-neutral law enforcement surely weren’t “cowards” about discussing race in those instances, and we might all benefit from a full understanding of their views. So let’s have the opponents of race-neutral enforcement of voting cases come out in the open and tell the American public why they oppose it.
In that article, I wrote how Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King told a meeting of the entire Voting Section, including Attorney General Eric Holder who was standing next to King, how glad she was that “two black men are running the country.” The inappropriate stupidity of that remark sounds a bit like the quote in the Post from the unnamed administration official. Whoever said that to the Post simply doesn’t understand the rage the confession will unleash. Americans don’t want to hear the law doesn’t protect them.
The admission by an administration official that the civil rights laws were made to protect only minorities is nothing new to me. I have been speaking about it for months. Now let’s see if the apologists for the administration who have attacked me and Christopher Coates admit error. Let’s see if certain commissioners on the Civil Rights Commission seize this opportunity to take the intellectual high road instead of continuing along the gutter track shilling for partisan or personal advantage.
Christopher Coates’s testimony offered the first chance at redemption. The front-page Washington Post piece containing confessions offers the second. The vote will be later this week on approval of the report. It will be very difficult to live with the reputation years from now that you defended racial discrimination and racially selective law enforcement. That stain on your reputation will follow you forever.
Lastly, the biggest threat to the DOJ spin, and the officials who have made incorrect statements under oath, is the fact that Justice attorneys inside the Voting Section are now talking to the Washington Post. Justice should be concerned they are also talking to Congress, which they have every right to do under the law and Constitution. Some might argue they have an obligation to do so considering the lies which have been pushed to Congress and the public about the Panther dismissal.
The many DOJ officials behind this debacle — Tom Perez, Julie Fernandes, Loretta King, Steve Rosenbaum and others throughout the DOJ who have run interference for the wrongdoing — should be very nervous. At least three DOJ lawyers still at Justice are starting to tell the truth to the Washington Post, and there is nothing now that can contain it. Expect more to follow if the lies continue and if heads don’t roll soon.
With the election just a week away, the smartest thing the White House could do is to roll some heads. Consult the list above for suggestions.