lmost a month ago, I published a piece in NRO titled “The New Black Panther Case: A Conservative Dissent.” The main thrust of the article — now forgotten by everyone, it seems — was that the Obama Justice Department’s enforcement of the Voting Rights Act was deeply troubling.
I am no fan of Attorney General Eric Holder’s policies, and the voting section had just proposed important new regulations interpreting the statute that will likely result in the widespread racial gerrymandering of legislative districts following the 2010 census.
O’Reilly: "But yesterday the House Judiciary Committee voted 15-14, along partisan lines, not to compel the Justice Department to hand over investigative data in the case. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I am a concerned citizen. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a camera phone which is not a weapon.
As you may know, Attorney General Holder has stonewalled the investigation, and now the Dems are apparently letting them get away with it." Guest Kris Kobach, a former Bush administration official, recounted the severity of the case: This is a very serious case of voter intimidation under section 11B of the Voting Rights Act. I'm just worried that you might be- BLACK PANTHER: And so are we, and so are we. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, but you have a nightstick in your hand. O'REILLY: Now many believe that was a violation of federal law.
So am I making too much of a thing out of this, Chris? In a typical year, the Justice Department gets maybe two or three complaints of voter intimidation.
After a carefully built argument, the T-U reaches this conclusion: “According to the timeline and testimony before the U. Commission on Civil Rights, the decision not to criminally charge the New Black Panthers was made during the Bush administration…So while Politi found it fair to hold Holder accountable for the decision to limit the civil case, it was misplaced for O’Reilly and others to condemn him for not pursuing a criminal one.”It’s useful to remind that this intimidation case occurred in the waning hours of the Bush administration on Election Day. Section 241 of Title 18 is the civil rights conspiracy statute.
When Department of Justice attorneys traveled to investigate a voter intimidation allegation against a black politician in Mississippi's Noxubee County in 2006, one civil rights staff attorney commented, "Can you believe we're going to Mississippi to protect white voters?
"To Christopher Coates, the former head of the Department of Justice's voting rights section, the comment was more than just an attempt at irony – it was evidence that something was going wrong in the department. Coates testified before the US Civil Rights Commission, a bipartisan oversight group, alleging that under President Obama, the dismissive attitude of that civil rights staff attorney toward white claims of disenfranchisement at the hands of blacks has essentially become Justice Department policy.
More deeply, though, the controversy suggests that two fundamentally different views of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are coming into conflict.
Is it a document aimed at redressing the concerns of all disenfranchised voters, or is it specifically crafted to thwart historic prejudices against minorities?