EDITORIAL: Black Panther blackout

New reports raise stakes on voter-intimidation case

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights votes tomorrow on its report regarding the Black Panther voter-intimidation case. The Obama administration’s malfeasance in this scandal is becoming impossible to avoid - even for the White House’s most reliable defenders.

After 17 months of averting its eyes, The Washington Post finally ran a major front-page feature on the controversy on Saturday. Three current Justice Department lawyers told the Post that whistleblowers J. Christian Adams and Christopher Coates are accurate in stating that anybody who tries to enforce civil rights laws in a race-neutral fashion will be ostracized, criticized and denied promotions because leaders at Justice believe “it is not the voting section’s job to protect white voters.” One senior official confirmed and even defended that view.

While the left has tried to demonize Mr. Adams as a conservative hit man, several current Justice officials admitted Mr. Adams performed his work admirably when he was a civil rights attorney for the department. This gives added credence to the whistleblowers’ assertions that the Obama administration dispenses race-based justice, a charge backed up by the facts in the New Black Panther Party case. Consider the elements:

c The Black Panthers caught on videotape intimidating voters both have convictions for assault. One used a club - much like the one brandished on Election Day - to hospitalize a victim with a serious head injury.

c Political interference in the ongoing prosecution is obvious. Federal prosecutors already had won the Panther case before Obama appointees at Justice dismissed it.

c Justice has made extravagant claims of “privileges” from divulging otherwise public information. In one never-before-known form of exemption from public transparency, the administration is claiming “deliberative process” privilege for discussions that occurred after decisions were made. As a legal argument, that’s nonsensical.

c There has been a persistent failure by Justice officials to honor legal subpoenas issued by an independent governmental commission. By law, all federal departments “shall” honor subpoenas from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Yet the Justice Department is defying the commission and likewise continues to ignore repeated inquiries from respected congressmen.

c Obama officials claimed repeatedly that political appointees played no role in dropping the Black Panther case. An e-mail log proves otherwise.

c A timeline of White House meetings lends credence to the idea that the White House interfered. For example, Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli made a series of visits to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. that corresponded exactly with major developments in the case - but he almost never visited the White House otherwise.

The Civil Rights Commission’s vote tomorrow is largely a ruling on the Obama administration’s attempts to evade justice. Despite all the stonewalling, there’s little doubt Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s department made race-based decisions in this race-based conflict.

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