It took the mainstream media nearly a year to catch up. Jennifer Rubin began reporting on the New Black Panther case in August 2009, hit it again in December 2009, and then provided a tick-tock of the scandal last month. The mainstream media studiously avoided any coverage of the scandal. Now that one of the Justice Department trial team members, J. Christian Adams, has resigned and come forward to do press interviews and testify before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. others are waking up. Fox News has been all over the story for a week. The AP has picked up on it. So has abcnews.com. It's a sign perhaps that the media is no longer inclined to ignore bad news for the Obama administration. Jen emails us:
Adams testified this week and in fact confirmed publicly what we have reported. Political appointees elevated by the Obama Justice Department squashed the New Black Panther case after a default verdict was in hand. As we have reported, Adams described the indifference of Obama political appointees to the arguments which the trial team made in support of the case and pointed to the potential involvement of an NAACP lawyer in urging dismissal of the case. And most importantly he confirmed from personal observation the hostility of liberal career attorneys and Obama appointees in applying the civil rights when minorities are the defendants. TWS reported last month:
Former voting rights attorneys confirm that the belief is omnipresent in the Justice Department. DoJ attorneys openly criticized the Panther case, objecting not to any lack of evidence or to the legal arguments but to the notion that any discrimination case should be filed against black defendants. There are instances of attorneys refusing to work on cases against minority defendants. In 2005, for example, Coates pursued, filed, and won a case (upheld on appeal to the Fifth Circuit in 2009) of egregious voter discrimination by black officials in Noxubee County, Mississippi. Colleagues criticized Coates for filing the case and refused to work on it.
This week Adams told the Commission: "The [voting] section doesn’t want to protect white voters." And he named names. He testified that Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes told Voting Section management that there would be no more cases brought against black defendants vindicating the rights of white victims. Adams personally heard Fernandes say that the division would only bring "traditional civil rights cases" (code words for suits against white racists). Adams also heard Fernandes say that she had no interest in the Voting Section enforcing Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (which requires purging rolls of ineligible voters to prevent voter fraud), because Section 8 does not increase voter turnout. Fernandes now needs to be questioned under oath, as does the head of the Civil Rights Division, Thomas Perez, who previously testified this was not the Justice Department's policy and that he was unaware of such views.
It would be good if other media organizations jumped in and started trying to grill Obama officials. It is, after all, a rather important issue: Does the Obama team think only some Americans are deserving of the protection of federal law?