July 7, 2010

Witnesses described an ugly scene: Two members of the New Black Panther Party threatening white voters the day Barack Obama was elected president, flinging insults like "white devil" and "you're about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

The fallout from the case has become even uglier. Most charges against the men were dropped for lack of evidence, the U.S. Justice Department says. Now a former Justice Department lawyer is accusing his ex-superiors of ignoring white voters' rights and creating a systematic "one-way" approach in which only minorities are protected.

The claims by J. Christian Adams are the latest installment of a long-running dispute over Justice Department enforcement of the nation's civil rights laws. It's a political fight over such volatile accusations as black-on-white racism, double standards and payback - issues that are magnified with black men serving as president and attorney general.

Adams, a conservative who helped prosecute the case against the New Black Panthers, wrote in a June 28 essay on "To some, the civil rights laws are not meant to protect all Americans, they are meant to protect certain Americans." He quit the Justice Department on May 14.

Adams told Fox News' Megyn Kelly last week that there is "a pervasive hostility within the civil rights division at the Justice Department toward these sorts of cases where blacks are accused of discrimination."

Department of Justice spokesman Tracy Schmaler said the law is enforced equally for everyone and that the charges against the New Black Panthers were dropped because they were not supported by the facts or the law. Schmaler was quick to respond that the Justice Department would continue to work with voters, communities and local law enforcement to ensure that every American can vote free from intimidation, coercion or threats.  Sure!

On Election Day 2008, King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson dressed in black uniforms of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, whose website recently made such statements as, "the white man has kept us deaf, dumb and blind, and used every `dirty trick' in the book to stand in the way of our freedom and independence."

The men stationed themselves near the entrance to a polling place in a largely black neighborhood. Shabazz carried a nightstick. Their actions quickly came to the attention of police, who told Shabazz to leave but allowed Jackson, a certified poll watcher, to remain.

Shortly before President George W. Bush left office, the Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against the two men, the New Black Panther Party and its leader, Malik Zulu Shabazz. The defendants never responded to the government's lawsuit, which had the same effect as a guilty plea.

Before any penalties could be handed down - and after Obama appointed Eric Holder to run the Justice Department - charges were dropped against everyone but Samir Shabazz. The court prohibited him from displaying a weapon within 100 feet of any Philadelphia polling place through 2012.

The Justice Department has explained this decision by saying that Jackson was a certified poll watcher who did not carry any weapons, that the New Black Panther website denounced the actions in Philadelphia and that the group had no national plan to intimidate voters.

Adams says it should have been an open-and-shut case and that numerous "career" Justice Department attorneys - as opposed to those who come and go with each administration - agreed that the New Black Panthers clearly intimidated voters.

He wrote that some people see selective enforcement of civil rights laws "as a backdoor way to achieve reparations for slavery and discrimination. If the American public won't tolerate monetary reparations, which they won't, then a one-way approach to civil rights laws is seen as the next best alternative."

Adams would go on to say that this aggressive one-way approach toward the civil rights laws is central to understanding why the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party was dismissed by the Obama Justice Department.

Adams' claims are rooted in decades of ideological battles over the Justice Department that were fought as overt racism waned and the wisdom of laws aimed at helping minorities began to be questioned.

Ronald Reagan's administration drew much liberal criticism for its enforcement priorities, as did Bill Clinton's from conservatives. Last December, a Government Accountability Office report documented what Democrats called reduced enforcement of major laws against discrimination and voting rights during the Bush administration.

Now it's the conservatives' turn. Jennifer Rubin is a contributing editor at Commentary magazine and has written extensively about the New Black Panther case. She says: "There's a fair amount of evidence, from this case and others, of a belief that these laws should only be used to enforce the rights of minorities. That's a matter for public debate, and perhaps great concern."

What the Department of Justice and the Obama Administration want to do is simply to "move on." Yeah, let's put prosecute white racism and simply tell blacks it OK to be racists against whites and treat them "seperate and unequal."

Holder and Obama are doing nothing other than what my own State Senator in Virginia practiced while serving on her city's council. When this African-American woman tells my son who wanted to rent a house from her and pay her more than her asking price, she declined to rent it out.  Three weeks later she did rent it, along with several other rental properties, to black families.

When questioned in public and before her peers on City Council, she merely said: "There is no such thing as 'reverse-discrimination.' To this day, this now State Senator practices what now appears to be true on the federal level - It's perfectly legal to discriminate against, and violate the rights of, whites.

I wonder what would happen, in light of the recent Supreme Court decision on upholding the Second Amendment Rights of citizens, if whites were to carry a gun to the polling place and, without brandishing it, merely said to a Black Panther guard at the door, "I'm just exercising two of my rights, to vote and to carry a gun legally."

I know Eric Holder will call down federal prosecutors quicker than you can say: "Racism!"

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.