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Rot at the DOJ

The Scrapbook weighs in.

10:08 AM, Sep 27, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Coates also related, as THE WEEKLY STANDARD previously reported, that an NAACP attorney, Kristen Clarke, had been hostile to cases brought against African Americans and was “lobbying for dismissal of the NBPP case.”

Coates was emphatic that the dismissal of the case “was ordered because people calling the shots in May 2009 were angry at the filing of [the Noxubee case] and angry at our filing of [the New Black Panther party] case. That anger was the result of their deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the [Voting Rights Act] against racial minorities and for the protection of whites who have been discriminated against.”

In his opening statement and during rounds of questioning Coates detailed the statements of Julie Fernandez, Obama’s pick for deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, in Voting Section meetings in September and December 2009. She declared the section “was only interested in bringing traditional types of .  .  . cases that would provide political equality for racial and language minority voters.”

At several points Coates confirmed what we have previously reported in these pages—the screaming match between Coates and Obama officials when they began efforts to quash the case and Coates’s briefing of Perez just before the civil rights chief testified before the commission. Coates had described Justice’s hostility toward race-neutral enforcement of voting laws; Perez under oath denied knowledge of such hostility. Coates gave a rousing defense of neutral enforcement of civil rights laws, calling the dismissal of the New Black Panther case dismissal a “travesty of justice.”

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned from an independent Justice Department source that the substance of Coates’s testimony was documented in an April 2010 letter on Justice Department stationery. That information was presented to and available to Perez and other officials well in advance of Perez’s May 14 testimony.

We’ll see if the mainstream media now perk up. In any event, if Republicans win control of the House or Senate, new committee chairmen will want to know what the attorney general and his closest advisers knew and when they knew it.

Here’s Coates’s full testimony from Friday. And here’s Jennifer Rubin’s latest bit on the story at Commentary’s blog Contentions.

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