Skip to comments.Black Panther voter-intimidation debacle still gnaws at nation's values
Posted on 12/18/2011 1:33:35 PM PST by jazusamo
J. Christian Adams is an election lawyer who served in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice and is author of Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department
Most who have seen the video of the New Black Panthers standing in front of a Philadelphia polling place in 2008 have well-settled opinions about the matter. However, with the presidential election next year, and with the injunction that barred the baton-wielding King Samir Shabazz from appearing at city polling places set to expire, it's worth considering some facts you might not have heard before.
As we know, the Justice Department brought a voter-intimidation lawsuit against the Panthers in the final days of the Bush administration. I was one of the four lawyers who brought the case. It was dismissed entirely a few months after President Obama's inauguration, apart from a temporary slap on the wrist for Shabazz. The dismissal occurred despite a default being entered against all of the Panther defendants because they never responded.
In hindsight, the case marked the first in a series of controversies that have sullied Eric Holder's tenure as attorney general. The Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal is the latest. Though some regard the Black Panther dismissal as "no big deal," few are making that argument about thousands of American guns killing hundreds of people in Mexico.
Perhaps it is a good time to debunk a few of the myths surrounding the dismissal of the Panther case - especially because we now have facts from internal Department of Justice reports and sworn testimony.
First, there was sworn testimony from eyewitnesses that voters indeed turned away at the sight of the club-wielding Black Panthers. A favorite canard of Holder's defenders has been that no voters were affected. Multiple eyewitnesses, including Chris Hill and Bartle Bull, testified under oath to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that they saw voters intimidated by the Panthers.
Those who support the dismissal of the case mock those who believe intimidation occurred, accusing them of being afraid "of scary black men." Yet those hurling such racialist taunts overlook an important fact - even Holder's Justice Department disagrees with them. After all, it pursued an injunction, albeit a paltry one, against Shabazz. If he committed voter intimidation, then certainly so did codefendant Jerry Jackson. Sworn and uncontroverted testimony revealed that Jackson acted in unison with the armed Shabazz to block the entrance to the polls. Was Jackson cut loose because he is a Democratic city committeeman?
Second, the internal ethics investigation of the dismissal revealed hostility toward using civil rights laws against minority wrongdoers. This testimony was given under penalty of perjury. Multiple lawyers stated that it is a common view inside this Justice Department that black wrongdoers should not be defendants in civil rights cases. The attorneys providing this testimony were longtime department employees, and liberals.
Philadelphia was not the only place where this nasty hostility toward race-neutral enforcement of election laws scuttled or impaired Justice Department investigations. As I document in my book Injustice, it has also happened in Alabama, Mississippi, and elsewhere.
Yet the Black Panther case was about much more than two racist jokers strutting in front of the Guild House. It is about what sort of nation we want to be.
The most tragic part of the Panther dismissal is how it erodes the precious principle of equal protection. No part of our Constitution was purchased with more blood and treasure than the Civil War Amendments - the 13th, 14th and 15th.
The 15th Amendment secures the right to vote free from racial discrimination and is the basis of the Voting Rights Act, under which the Panthers were sued. These amendments stand for the principle that the law treats everyone equally, regardless of race. People continued to die for this precious idea in places like Selma and Philadelphia, Miss., even a century after the Civil War ended.
Have we grown tired of equality before law as an aspiration?
Let's hope not. Because rapid demographic changes likely will mean that no racial group will be a majority in a few decades. The constitutional command of equal protection will be especially essential when no group constitutes a majority in this nation. We will enter dangerous territory if too many still think stalking a poll with a weapon is "no big deal" if the person happens to be of a certain race.
The authors of the Civil War Amendments long ago provided the best path to legal harmony in a diverse nation. Simply, the law should treat everybody equally. The sacrifices made for this principle warrant a fresh look at the facts of the Black Panther dismissal, particularly before the 2012 election.
“Seems these gangs must be getting inspiration from Holder.”
This has been going on since the advent of affirmative action in the early 1970s, an ever increasing attitude of entitlement for historical “wrongs”.
When Holder said that he wouldn’t prosecute “his people”, many took his statement as carte blanche to operate outside of any of the normal restraints found in civilized societies.
When our AG openly states that equal protection for all Americans has become null and void, the government loses any moral authority it may once have had. And the practical side of this is the we, like never before, have the responsibility of protecting our property, ourselves, and our loved ones.
My dad said that more than 40 years ago when they started forced busing. The country's gone to Hades ever since...
The Rats are shovel-ready for the dustbin of history.
I’ve been thru Wyoming while in the navy, while interesting don’t think I’d live there.
Doesn't it though? What happened to "a nation of laws?" What happened to "equal justice under the law?"
Holder is a racist, statist, lying Marxist coward.
That's quite the injunction: "Stay away from the polls . . . until the next presidential election!"
Exactly...There was a lot made of that by Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky but not much was said about it by the enemedia. The Holder/Obama JustUs Department is pathetic.
Well, hopefully the NOI racist will find out the second amendment’s golden rule: Don’t bring a racist attitude and baton to a gun fight, Shabazz.
“What happened to ‘a nation of laws?’ What happened to ‘equal justice under the law?’”
Well, if the rule of law being rendered essentially meaningless hadn’t pretty much been a fait accompli before, then this definitely put the “nation of laws” thing to bed.
My turn to post the link to the most outstanding deconstruction of the forgery anywhere on the web.
Have you been through the northern part of the state? Really beautiful up there. Down around Cheyenne is BORING!!! Rolling hills of grass. Snore.
Your old man was correct.
It really is isn't it? That young man did an outstanding job.