A Troublingly Familiar Question

Last Friday, while most everyone was watching Steven Colbert clown it up in front of Congress, another hearing was going on. A former Justice Department voting rights official, Christopher Coates, testified before the Civil Rights Commission to speak about the “post-racial” environment of the Obama-Holder Justice Department. And Coates dropped bombshell after bombshell after bombshell before the Commission.

Among the allegations Coates charged:

  • The Justice Department’s decision to reverse itself after winning a default victory in the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case and forgo harsher penalties for the accused for dropping the charges against two and reducing the third to a slap on the wrist was directed by political appointees of the Obama administration, and not by career employees of the Civil Rights division.
  • Obama political appointee Loretta King specifically ordered Coates to stop asking Justice Department job applicants if they supported race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
  • The Justice Department had tried to block Coates from testifying before the Commission, to the point of ordering him to refuse to comply with their subpoena.
  • Obama political appointee Julie Fernandez (Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights) met with the staff of the Voting Rights division and explicitly said that only “traditional” cases — those defending the rights of “racial and language minority” citizens. The implication was clear — No Whites Need Apply. Cases where whites were the victims of oppression — such as the odious Ike Brown case in Mississippi — were no longer of interest.
  • The Justice Department had chosen to no longer enforce the parts of the law that required states to properly maintain and update voter rolls, removing deceased and other now-ineligible voters. Eight states have not removed a single voter from the roll in two years (a statistical impossibility), but the official Obama/Holder Justice Department position is a shrug.

Let’s first dismiss some of the crap that’s usually thrown at Coates. No, he’s not a Republican activist. Coates might have come to the Justice Department (and, eventually, head of the Voting Rights Division) as a Bush appointee, but he had previously served as an attorney with the ACLU.

Further, let’s remember that Coates wasn’t just making allegations. He was testifying under oath. If he was lying, he was committing perjury. And Bill Clinton to the contrary, lying under oath before a Congressional committee is a major offense.

These are incredibly serious charges, leveled against political appointees to the Justice Department. This raises many, many questions that need to be answered by the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder. And the most prominent question that must be demanded of him:

What did the Attorney General know, and when did he know it?

And now there’s another element that threatens to unravel the ever-more-flimsy narrative that the Obama administration is pushing: that all these decisions were made by career employees of the Justice Department, that politics had nothing to do with any of these actions.

Someone clever took a look at the visitor logs for the White House, and right in the middle of the whole mess one name of a guest to the private residence of the Obamas jumped out: Malik Shabazz.

Which happens to be the name of a member of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. More specifically, he’s the head of the party.

Now, it might not be the same man. “Malik Shabazz” was one of the names Malcolm Little used, but he’s best known as “Malcolm X.” There are probably a lot of people named Malik Shabazz, including a professional wrestler.

But the timing is incredibly suspicious. The White House, when questioned on just which Malik Shabazz visited this July, says “not that one,” but won’t say anything more.

This raises an even more troubling question about the New Black Panther Party case, and the politicization of the Voting Rights division of the Justice Department:

What did the president know, and when did he know it?

Considering how much the current administration campaigned on promises of “openness” and “integrity” and “honesty” and being “post-racial,” we ought to have great faith and confidence that this matter will be settled quickly and honestly and clearly.

But that faith would be misplaced, as those promises — like every other promise Obama has ever made — came with expiration dates. Those are all irrelevant, as we are reminded often. “I won.” “Elections have consequences.”

Let’s remember those casual dismissals, and take them to heart.

And then ram them down their throats this November.

The Voting Rights Act is not just for “racial and language minority” citizens. It’s for all Americans. Even whiteys, ofays, rednecks, peckerwoods, crackers, white trash, honkys, honky honkys, and dead honkys.

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