The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights today suggested it is expanding its review of claims that the Department of Justice has implemented a ban on prosecuting defendants who are black.
The comments came at a hearing in Washington at which commission members asked witness J. Christian Adams to provide the names of other Department of Justice attorneys who might shed further light on his allegation that the DOJ is afflicted by a “culture of hostility” toward prosecuting black perpetrators of voting rights violations against white victims.
Commissioner Gail Heriot asked Adams to provide a “list of attorneys in the department who could corroborate” his testimony, indicating that the commission plans to expand its investigation of racial bias in the Department of Justice.
Also, Adams revealed that some DOJ staffers were disciplined for harassing other departmental attorneys because they held “evangelical religious views” and worked on a case brought against a black political activist in Mississippi.
Adams, until recently a top trial attorney in the voting section of the DOJ, testified that staffers throughout the department have subscribed for years to the notion that the DOJ’s primary responsibility is to protect the voting rights of minority voters, not whites.
He added that recent Obama administration DOJ appointees have reinforced this notion by making such racial discrimination a formal departmental policy.
According to the former DOJ attorney, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandez, an Obama appointee at the top of the department, announced at a policy meeting that “the voting section will not bring any other cases against blacks and other minorities.”
Adams testified that Fernandez also said the department “has no interest in enforcing” the section of the Motor Voter law that requires local jurisdictions to purge the voting rolls of ineligible voters, even deceased voters, because “it has nothing to do with increasing turnout.”
Commissioner Peter Kirsanow asked Adams “to what extent” the department believes equal treatment before the law applies to all voters.
“That’s the problem,” replied Adams. “They assume Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act doesn’t apply to white voters.”
Adams pointed out that over the past 45 years, the department has brought hundreds of cases against whites violating the rights of ethnic minority voters, but only two cases against blacks violating the rights of whites.
Adams said the DOJ’s attitude toward racial neutrality will be demonstrated in mid-July when the department has to choose a course of action in the next phase of a case against black political leader Ike Brown of Knox City, Miss. “If they don’t object to the submission, they will be [saying] that section 5 does not apply to white victims.”
Adams resigned from the department after he was ordered by his superiors to drop a case prosecutors already had won–the notorious New Black Panther Party intimidation of voters in a majority black precinct in urban Philadelphia on Election Day in 2008.
Adams alleged that many DOJ employees, both career civil servants and political appointees, have told him that the DOJ “doesn’t have the resources” to enforce the voting rights laws in a “race-neutral” manner by bringing cases against members of minority groups who violate the law. Others have refused to work on either of the two cases against black perpetrators, saying, “I didn’t join the voting rights division to sue black people.”
Adams said one DOJ staffer told his former superior, Christopher Coates, then the chief of the DOJ’s Voting Section, “Can you believe we’re being sent down to Mississippi to defend white people?” He reported another staffer told Coates, “the Brown case has gotten us into so much trouble with civil rights groups.”
According to Adams, some members of the DOJ Voting Section staff were “harassed” by other members “for working on the Brown case.” An internal department investigation led to sanctions against some staffers for “badgering” others because they worked on the Brown case and held “evangelical religious views.”
According to Adams, Coates suffered humiliation and the gradual loss of his power because he supported the case against the New Black Panther Party. Adams repeatedly urged the members of the commission to bring Coates in to testify about the department’s hostility toward bringing cases against minority members.
“As I walked up, they closed ranks, next to each other,” the witness [in the New Black Panther Party case] told Fox News at the time. “So I walked directly in between them, went inside and found the poll watchers. They said they’d been here for about an hour. And they told us not to come outside because a black man is going to win this election no matter what.”
He said the man with a nightstick told him, “‘We’re tired of white supremacy,’ and he starts tapping the nightstick in his hand. At which point I said, ‘OK, we’re not going to get in a fistfight right here,’ and I called the police.”