[Guest post by DRJ]
On election day 2008, the New Black Panthers were caught on tape in questionable activities at a Philadelphia polling place:
The incident was the subject of a civil Voting Rights complaint filed in January 2009 in federal court. The defendants refused to appear or answer for almost 5 months. Accordingly, “two separate [Department of] Justice offices had recommended proceeding to default judgment before political superiors overruled them.” Instead, Attorney General Eric Holder’s DOJ surprisingly dismissed the case over the objections of career DOJ lawyers.
GOP lawmakers requested an investigation that was initiated by and is still pending in the Office of Professional Responsibility. In addition, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission voted to begin an inquiry but has seen its requests repeatedly ignored by Holder’s DOJ:
“Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, in a letter, said the department has been “largely non-responsive” to requests for information since questions about the dismissal were first raised in June and had turned over “none of the documents” being sought.
Mr. Reynolds said that after seeking to work with department subordinates to get access to the documents, the commission turned directly to Mr. Holder in August but had still not received any of the requested information, including documents on previous voter intimidation investigations “so we could determine whether the departments action in the NBPP case constitutes a change in policy and, if so, what the implications of that change might be.”
According to the Washington Times, a civil rights activist and poll-watcher gave the government an affidavit documenting the intimidation — an affidavit that the DOJ surprisingly did not offer in the civil case. The poll-watcher, Bartle Bull, reportedly believes the DOJ dismissal was intended to protect ACORN-registered voters from being challenged by poll watchers:
“Bartel Bull, a longtime Democratic activist, told Fox News he believes charges were dismissed by Eric Holder to protect the New Black Panther Party’s ability to prevent ACORN-registered, ineligible voters from being challenged by poll watchers. Bull said,
…it is not the voters the New Black Panthers want to intimidate, it is the poll watchers…”
ACORN keeps popping up now that President Obama is in office, but it looks like Attorney General Holder isn’t interested in ACORN or its protectors. Too bad Holder doesn’t remember or didn’t mean what he told the Washington Post in April 2009:
“The job of other department heads is to put into place the president’s policies. Holder advises the president on law enforcement policy, but the attorney general’s job is to uphold the laws, even laws that the president may not like.
The fact that the United States was created to run on laws and not on the whims of a dictator has set this country apart from many others.
That, Holder said, is something he never forgets: “Ours is a nation of laws, guided by principles that reflect the essential goodness of the American people. . . . The true test of our nation’s greatness is whether we uphold our most cherished principles, not when it is easy, but when it is hard. Our nation . . . has met this test in times past. We will do so again.”
Which cherished American principles were you following when you dismissed the New Black Panther case, Mr. Attorney General?