And the New Black Panther case controversy is at the centerpiece of it’s first oversight letter. Right Turn’s Jennifer Rubin reports:
Right Turn has obtained the first oversight letter from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued to the Justice Department. While he was in the minority, Smith labored, largely unsuccessfully, on the committee to convince the Democratic chairman to investigate a range of issues, including detainee policy and New Black Panther Party case. He now has the authority to schedule hearings, call witnesses and subpoena documents.
He then gets to the heart of the matter. As I and other outlets have reported, he notes that in the New Black Panther Party case investigation, it came to light that a political appointee, Julie Fernandes, directed Justice Department attorneys “not to bring cases against black defendants for the benefit of white victims.”
Smith then details allegations by former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams that the department declined to enforce the National Voter Registration Act and its provisions relating to “voter integrity.”
The letter is noteworthy on a number of levels. First, administration flacks and liberal bloggers have insisted that the New Black Panther Party case is much to do about nothing. But as Smith has correctly discerned, the issue of enforcement or non-enforcement of civil rights laws based on a non-colorblind view of those laws is serious and a potentially explosive issue for this administration. Second, Holder’s strategy of stonewalling during the first two years of Obama’s term may have backfired. Had he been forthcoming while Democrats were in the majority, he might have been able to soften the blows; Smith is not about to pull his punches. And finally, Smith is demonstrating the sort of restraint and big-picture focus that is essential for the Republicans if they are to remain credible and demonstrate their capacity for governance.
In a piece published at the NewsReal blog, J. Christian Adams himself writes:
Fernandes is one of the officials who explicitly said the voting rights laws were not going to be used to protect anyone but national racial minorities. The Holder DOJ was all “about politically empowering minorities” she said in my presence and the presence of dozens of others. Minority turnout was the aim of the DOJ, not equal enforcement of federal law.
Laws that require dead voters be removed from the rolls? Those are undesirable laws “that restrict turnout rather than increase it” Fernandes said in my presence, and the presence of dozens of other DOJ attorneys.
Couldn’t Fernandes just commit perjury and say she never did such a thing if she is hauled before Congress? Not likely. Dozens of other people were present when she said lawless and racialist things – and I know for a fact a number of them have the character to testify that she committed perjury if she denied it.
Many of the shills for the government have been hoping that the GOP would either slow walk the Black Panther investigation, or go nuts. Lamar Smith has instead chosen a well balanced approach. He wants answers, he wants his Black Panther documents he has been requesting for 18 months, and he wants them now. It’s a chance for the DOJ to stop the stonewall.
Those now running the DOJ certainly remember the slow grindof Senator Leahy’s oversight hearings in 2006. They might recall that Chairman Conyers dragged career DOJ officials to the Hill in 2007 to testify.
If the Department wants $17 million dollars for the Civil Rights Division, it’s time for the stonewalling to stop. The piper wants to be paid.
In related news, earlier this week, Smith also made it official that the House Judiciary Committee will convene hearings on the “constitutional concerns surrounding ObamaCare and the role medical malpractice reform can play in reducing health care costs.” This is going to be one busy committee over the next two years at least, as it wades into, among other things, the DOJ Civil Rights division nightmare as well as the quagmire that is commonly known as “Democrat-backed health care reform.” Great to see the HJC didn’t waste anytime letting the American public – and the Obama administration – know without a shadow of a doubt just what their priorities were going to be at the start of the 112th Congress.
This is awesome news for both the rule of law and Congressional oversight – and bad news for President Obama, AG Eric Holder, and the Pelosi/Reid wing of the Democrat party. As Joe Biden would say, gird your loins …
Cross-posted to Right Wing News.