Patterico's Pontifications


It’s Not the Crime, It’s the Cover Up

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:50 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

This came out over the weekend, but let’s bring it up when people are paying more attention.  The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report on what they know so far about the New Black Panthers case.  The Washington Times has extensive coverage, and you can read the report for yourself, here.  But what leapt out at me just reading the introduction was how much of the report was talking about how the DOJ is covering things up:

Third, evidence obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by a third party indicates that this matter was not simply a difference of opinion between career attorneys. Instead, the record of communications within the Department appears to indicate that senior political appointees played a significant role in the decision making surrounding the lawsuit. The involvement of senior DOJ officials by itself would not be unusual, but the Department’s repeated attempts to obscure the nature of their involvement and other refusals to cooperate raise questions about what the Department is trying to hide.


These serious accusations deserve to either be proven or exposed as false. While the Department has issued general statements that it enforces the laws without regard to race, these assurances do not confirm, deny, or explain the specific allegations of misconduct raised by Mr. Coates and Mr. Adams.4 Unfortunately, the Department has thus far refused to address many of these specific claims or to provide the type of information that would allow the Commission to properly review the decision making relating to the NBPP lawsuit.


What was not anticipated was the extent of the Department’s lack of cooperation. At various times the Department alleged it would provide no information because the matter was being reviewed by its Office of Professional Responsibility. At other times, the Department raised a wide variety of legal privileges, many of which seemed to have no relevance to the current investigation. Although the Department eventually began to provide some information, including 4,000 pages of documents, much of the information provided either did not relate to the New Black Panther Party litigation, involved matters that were already public, or involved prior voter intimidation lawsuits. While useful, this information did not address the core of the Commission’s inquiry as to why the NBPP lawsuit had been challenged internally.

I haven’t read it all yet and don’t plan to today.  But at the very least this stonewalling must end.

And I will add that it is important to demand race-neutral enforcement.  Even if you don’t care about the New Black Panther case, you should be concerned because if it is found that these prosecutions are occurring in a racially biased fashion, then white defendants will be able to challenge their prosecution on the basis of bias.

Update: In the comments, one person doubted that this would endanger other prosecutions.  United States v. Armstrong says otherwise:

a prosecutor’s discretion is “subject to constitutional constraints.”  One of these constraints, imposed by the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment is that the decision whether to prosecute may not be based on “an unjustifiable standard such as race, religion, or other arbitrary classification[.]” A defendant may demonstrate that the administration of a criminal law is “directed so exclusively against a particular class of persons . . . with a mind so unequal and oppressive” that the system of prosecution amounts to “a practical denial” of equal protection of the law.

In order to dispel the presumption that a prosecutor has not violated equal protection, a criminal defendant must present “clear evidence to the contrary.”

(Citations omitted.)  Unlike, say, the unequal treatment afforded Geitner, this is racial discrimination we are talking about and it will be taken much more seriously.  The DOJ has endangered every prosecution its office has engaged in, in the last two years, by this (alleged) racial discrimination.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

17 Responses to “It’s Not the Crime, It’s the Cover Up”

  1. The idea that the case will provide a defense to white thugs reminds me of the giethner turbo tax defense that failed repeatedly when invoked by ordinary non-taxpayers.Cililization depends on people having a sense that there is a just society.This case and other actions by this administration go back the the monarch who declared that “i am yhe law”.

    dunce (b89258)

  2. I beg your forgiveness for my many typos,i am a hunt and peck typer and my finger does not even hunt well.

    dunce (b89258)

  3. The crime is voter intimidation, do they need to kill someone to get the authorities attention

    narciso (6075d0)

  4. This is just another attempt at race-baiting by you and your racist Faux News masters.

    JD (85b089)

  5. Did anyone really expect this administration or the appointees thereof to be transparent in any way shape or form? Can you really be that naive?


    Considering the only qualification a person seems to need to get an appointment is either to be a radical anti-American extremist or a radical racist, who should be surprised?

    Jay H Curtis (8f6541)

  6. And the head of the civil rights division, was one of his students, fed on Alinsky instead of proper

    narciso (6075d0)

  7. The idea that the case will provide a defense to white thugs reminds me of the giethner turbo tax defense that failed repeatedly when invoked by ordinary non-taxpayers.

    I agree with your general point that the Obama administration, from appointment to enforcement, corrodes respect for the law, and this is bad on its own. But I also think the defense for white thugs is actually pretty realistic. If limited resources are used only to prosecute one race for one type of crime, that is unconstitutional in clear terms.

    And it would be just as awful to let them get away with their crimes as it was to let the New Black Panther thugs stay out of prison for years.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  8. I expected the Obama administration to be incompetent and populated with ideologues. But the administration has continually performed at an even lower level of competence, and greater amount of corruption, than I expected two years ago.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  9. a) this is a chicago administration; i.e, mob-oriented

    b) looking forward with gleeful anticipation to the House issuing subpoenas, with contempt of congress sanctions on the table

    great unknown (261470)

  10. looking forward with gleeful anticipation to the House issuing subpoenas

    I’m pretty confident you’ll be pleased. But I know many on the left were let down by ‘fitzmas’ (frog marching Karl Rove to prison, etc).

    I think there’s great reason for hard investigations, and many of these reasons will be very difficult to escape with ‘executive privilege’. Of course the MSM reaction will be that the GOP is not helping with jobs and the economy, so hopefully they are well prepared to answer that (with spending cuts).

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  11. When are we going to have that national conversation on race, Mr. Holder and Mr. Obama?

    The Department of Social Justice as presently constituted under Holder seems too deeply infected with bias and political correctness to participate, just as the State Department is infected with those pursuing their own agendas rather than the agenda of the country.

    daleyrocks (a82d72)

  12. When are we going to have that national conversation on race, Mr. Holder and Mr. Obama?

    It’s about time we did. But they just wanted an excuse to call us a nation of cowards. They are afraid of a frank conversation on race, because they are race baiters who love the current confusion.

    Race relations are probably being set back a few decades, thanks to these two.

    The next administration merely has to be normally patriotic and enforce the laws equally, and they will be a breath of fresh air.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  13. Holder and the DOJ will be Beelzebub’s Whitewater in 5, 4, 3, 2,…

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  14. trust us, this story will be dead by the weekend….

    The MFM (fb8750)

  15. When will the Politicization of the Dept of Justice by Bush end?
    I thought we voted for change?

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  16. Breaking News – Shirley Sherrod hired by Eric Holder at Department of Social Justice to oversee Voting Rights Section.


    daleyrocks (a82d72)

  17. Government sanctioned racism in the Department of Justice is not the sort of change we were expecting from Barack Obama. His neglect of this outrage is an impeachable offence. The new Congress should act to remove him from office.

    ropelight (cae9ed)

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