Andy McCarthy has an absolute tour de force at NRO today about the New Black Panther voter-intimidation case. I preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Abigail Thernstrom, an admirer of her life’s work, her mind, and her principles. But on the Black Panther case, I think she badly misses the boat, for whatever reason. McCarthy’s piece is a devastating rebuttal to her arguments, and I applaud every one of his substantive points while taking no joy, and indeed some discomfort, in the fact that it is Thernstrom whose reasoning he is taking apart.
That said, if one forgets that it is Thernstrom at issue and just take McCarthy’s logic and marshalling of facts on their own, the weight of his case is impressive indeed. McCarthy writes:
How can a prominent commissioner, having thundered about the Justice Department’s “moral obligation to prevent voting-rights violations,” complain about a purported lack of evidence when the Justice Department has been stonewalling the Commission for over a year? Indeed, that stonewalling was the reason for Thernstrom’s letter to King last June. The only differences between then and now are (a) the stonewalling has gone on for another 13 months, in contempt of subpoenas and requests for cooperation withthe Commission ‘s lawful mandate; (b) the public record of the Department’s abdicating its “moral obligation” in the Panthers case is now overwhelming; (c) more significantly, there is growing evidence that the Panthers case is just a symptom of the ObamaJustice Department ‘s systematic racism in the enforcement of the civil-rights laws; and (d) this systematic abuse gravely imperils the integrity of upcoming federal elections.
That’s not all. McCarthy explains the broader context:
In July 2009, Julie Fernandes, the deputy assistant attorney general (the second-ranking lawyer in DOJ’s Civil Division), told her subordinates, “We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.” Is the “disgruntled” Adams lying? You be the judge. Adams reports that Fernandes’s jaw-dropping pronouncement was made in front of a room full of people, including Voting Rights Section lawyers. Yet, the Obama administration is refusing to allow those lawyers to testify before the Commission. Further, as I have previously recounted (in this “Broadside” pamphlet for Encounter Books), and as von Spakovsky has explained here at NRO, the Bush Justice Department filed an action against the state of Missouri to enforce compliance with Section 8. But, as it did with the Panthers case, the Obama Justice Department quietly dismissed the suit.
This is a hugely important issue. We at the Washington Times have written 32 editorials, several path-breaking news stories by Jerry Seper, and numerous blogs on it. At every step of the way, Jennifer Rubin has done absolutely wonderful reporting at Contentions and at The Weekly Standard. Michelle Malkin has been on the case from the beginning, very effectively. (Until last week, I thought we at the WashTimes were the first to report DoJ’s dismissal of the case, but following web links last week I found out that Malkin beat us by a day.) Hans von Spakovsky at NRO has been an ace. Numerous radio hosts have been good on it all along, perhaps none more than Mark Levin. Congressmen Frank Wolf and Lamar Smith have been bulldogs on it, as has been the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. But until whistleblowing attorney J. Christian Adams resigned in protest and did interviews with Megyn Kelly at Fox News, the establishment media utterly ignored it. Well, no longer. And the ramifications of it are only growing.
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