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When he was appointed Chief of the Voting Section in 2008, Coates said that he made it a point to ensure that prospective new trial attorneys in his section agreed that enforcement of the Voting Rights Act should be race neutral. He asked each candidate if they were equally comfortable taking cases that involved alleged discrimination against white voter, as they were taking cases in which minority voters were pressing a claim. This reasonable, equitable inquiry offended the woman that the president appointed as Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in 2009: Loretta King. Coates said that Ms. King directed him to stop asking that question, because “…she does not support equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and had been highly critical of the filing and civil prosecution of the Ike Brown case.” He also referred to other potential Voting Rights Act cases that the DOJ has declined to prosecute, these involving elections in largely African-American communities in which all African-American factions were accused of discriminatory acts directed against opposing, racially-integrated factions. In one of these cases, a bank in which absentee ballots were stored was burned, apparently so votes favorable to the mixed-race faction could not be counted.
Given the discriminatory path the DOJ has chosen, its decision to dismiss most of the charges in the NBPP case – even though a default judgment against the defendants had been entered – should come as no surprise. Nor should anyone be astonished that the DOJ has continually stonewalled efforts to find out who was involved in making the decision to drop those charges. The DOJ has refused to produce background documents, ignoring requests from the Civil Rights Commission and a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the watchdog organization Judicial Watch. In the latter case, the DOJ did produce a Vaughn Index of the 122 documents (over 600 pages) dealing with the case that it is refusing to release. A review of the “to,” “from” and “subject” fields contained in the index shows that several e-mails about the case were sent to or sent by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden and the Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, the second and third ranking officials at the DOJ. The subject lines seem to show that both political appointees were deeply involved in the case, despite DOJ’s protestations to the contrary. For example, the subject line of on e-mail from Perrelli is entitled: “Where are we on the Black Panther case?” while Ogden offers his “current thoughts on the case” in another.
With Adams and Coates both testifying that there is something very rotten in the Department of Justice when it comes to race and voting rights, as well as two affidavits to that effect in the hands of the Civil Rights Commission, it’s going to be very difficult for Obama and his leftist allies in the media to defend Eric Holder’s management of the DOJ much longer. In choosing to withhold documents from Judicial Watch’s FOIA request, the DOJ continually invoked the excuse that doing so would “…have a chilling effect on staff who in the future would be reluctant to express their opinions…” Thanks to whistle-blowers like Christopher Coates, the American people are starting to realize something far more chilling: that the Department of Justice is far more interested in political correctness than equitable, color-blind defense of the rights of all Americans.
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