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Former DOJ Head Michael Mukasey Hits Obama's DOJ Voting Section

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey delivered a sharp criticism of the Obama Justice Department, particularly the DOJ Voting Section, in a speech republished in Hillsdale College's Imprimis. In a broadside aimed at the Obama-era DOJ, Mukasey hits the department's biased and partisan law enforcement policies.

Mukasey's speech should be required reading for every presidential campaign.

Mukasey revisits the dismissal of the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party by Eric Holder and other political appointees shortly after the 2009 inauguration:

During the 2008 election, two members of the New Black Panther Party showed up at a polling place in Philadelphia dressed in black battle fatigues. ...  In the waning days of the Bush administration, the DOJ’s Voting Section filed a lawsuit and won a default judgment. But in the spring of 2009, after the Obama administration took over, those handling the case were directed to drop it. The only penalty left in place was a limited injunction that barred the person with the nightstick from repeating that conduct for a period of time in Philadelphia. And when the Office of Professional Responsibility looked into the matter, their finding criticized the bringing of the case more than the dropping of it.

As one "handling the case," the benefit of hindsight has revealed the New Black Panther dismissal as a sign of things to come. By 2015, we've grown used to outcome-driven law enforcement from the Justice Department. Laws are mere suggestions, not commands to this administration. If the Obama administration disagrees with a law, they simply refuse to enforce it.


In the New Black Panther case, the incoming Obama administration found it reprehensible that the civil rights laws would be used to protect anyone other than Democrat Party constituencies. While the Office of Professional Responsibility behaved as General Mukasey described, the Justice Department inspector general issued a report that documented the pervasive hostility inside the Voting Section to equal enforcement of the law to protect all Americans.

Simply, if the victims of civil rights violations are white, they don't receive protection. This outcome is no accident. It is a result of beliefs held by civil servants working inside the Justice Department.

If a Republican wins the presidency, he or she would be well advised to listen to General Mukasey and implement fundamental changes to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, particularly the Voting Section. Step One may will be remedial training on what the Rule of Law means. (PJ Media coverage of the New Black Panther dismissal can be found here, here, and here.)

The New Black Panthers would enter the national narrative many times after 2009 in places like Ferguson, Sanford and New York City. Naturally, each time it would seem that in those places, the Justice Department was taking sides before the investigations were complete. Naturally, over and over, the department was on the side of the New Black Panthers, even if it did not publicly embrace the gangsters. Again, Mukasey:

Consider as well the 2012 case of Trayvon Martin, a young man who was shot in an encounter with a neighborhood watch member. Notwithstanding that the shooter was not a member of any police department, and that he was acquitted of criminal responsibility in the incident -- nevertheless, in the wake of the case the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division zeroed in on the police department of Sanford, Florida, where the incident occurred, suggesting discriminatory policing. A similar pattern -- whereby a confrontation between a police officer and an African-American is followed by a Justice Department proceeding against the jurisdiction, regardless of the legal outcome or the equities of the incident—has been followed in cities such as Baltimore, New York, and Ferguson, Missouri.

Instead of combating violations of civil rights laws by the New Black Panthers, Mukasey notes we've seen the DOJ Civil Rights Division turned into a weapon against the administration's pro-life opponents:

Contrast that response with the DOJ’s treatment of a 79-year-old protestor outside an abortion clinic who was sued by the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section for praying outside the clinic and urging entrants to reconsider abortion. When that protestor was pepper sprayed by an abortion supporter for exercising his First Amendment rights, the Criminal Section did nothing.

(PJ Media coverage on DOJ's abuse of peaceful pro-life protesters is here.)

Every Republican presidential candidate, and the next attorney general, should listen to what Mukasey noted in his speech next:

One lesson to draw from all this is that personnel is policy. If you examine the resumés of people hired into the DOJ beginning in 2009, you will find that the governing credential of new hires was a history of support for left-leaning causes or membership in leftist organizations.

PJ Media did an exhaustive study of the resumes of lawyers hired by the Obama administration after taking power in 2009. The results are described in the Every Single One series.

Mukasey is right. Every single one of the attorney hires was a partisan or ideologue. You can access the PJ Media series here.) Again, this outcome was no accident. It was driven by a desire of those doing the attorney hiring to self-replicate their worldview inside DOJ.