The Washington Post has broken its silence on the Black Panther affair, reporting that the Justice Department is hostile to race-neutral enforcement of the laws, just as former DOJ officials have alleged:
In recent months, [J. Christian] Adams and a Justice Department colleague have said the case was dismissed because the department is reluctant to pursue cases against minorities accused of violating the voting rights of whites. Three other Justice Department lawyers, in recent interviews, gave the same description of the department’s culture, which department officials strongly deny.
“The department makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved,” spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said. “We are committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of the federal laws that prohibit voter intimidation, as our record reflects.” . . .
Since the division was created in 1957, most of its cases have been filed on behalf of minorities. But there has not always been agreement about that approach.
Civil rights officials from the Bush administration have said that enforcement should be race-neutral. But some officials from the Obama administration, which took office vowing to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement, thought the agency should focus on cases filed on behalf of minorities.
“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.
Before the New Black Panther controversy, another case had inflamed those passions. Ike Brown, an African American political boss in rural Mississippi, was accused by the Justice Department in 2005 of discriminating against the county’s white minority. It was the first time the 1965 Voting Rights Act had been used against minorities and to protect whites.
Coates and Adams later told the civil rights commission that the decision to bring the Brown case caused bitter divisions in the voting section and opposition from civil rights groups.
Three Justice Department lawyers, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation from their supervisors, described the same tensions, among career lawyers as well as political appointees. Employees who worked on the Brown case were harassed by colleagues, they said, and some department lawyers anonymously went on legal blogs “absolutely tearing apart anybody who was involved in that case,” one lawyer said.
“There are career people who feel strongly that it is not the voting section’s job to protect white voters,” the lawyer said. “The environment is that you better toe the line of traditional civil rights ideas or you better keep quiet about it, because you will not advance, you will not receive awards and you will be ostracized.”
The 2008 Election Day video of the Panthers triggered a similar reaction, said a second lawyer. “People were dismissing it, saying it’s not a big deal. They said we shouldn’t be pursuing that case.”
(Via Pajamas Media.)
I don’t see anything here we didn’t know already, but the fact that this is finally breaking into the mainstream media could be a very big deal. Yes, the ran the story on a Saturday, and yes, the key information was buried on page 3, but still, it’s out there now.