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Posted at 12:37 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

The New Black Panther case and liberal spin

By Jennifer Rubin

Over on The Plum Line, Adam Sewer unfortunately repeats much of the misinformation concerning the New Black Panther case.

Let's take them in order. Adam asserts: "Republican congressmen Lamar Smith and Darrell Issa are literally accusing the Obama administration of favoring 'a political ally -- the New Black Panther Party.'" This is wrong. The issue is whether a meritorious claim of voter intimidation was dismissed under pressure from left-leaning civil rights groups and whether there is reason to believe there is a sentiment against a color-blind application of civil rights laws. This point has been made repeatedly by the now-House Judiciary chairman, as well as by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.).

Next, Adam claims that the case was not dismissed. This is inaccurate. It was dismissed against the New Black Panther Party and two individual defendants. The remedy sought against the remaining defendant (not to brandish a weapon near a Philadelphia polling place) is meaningless, since such action is already prohibited by law.

Adam also errs in claiming that U.S Commission on Civil Rights co-chairman Abigail Thernstrom contends that the case lacks merit. In fact, since the testimony of Chris Coates and the revelations from the Judicial Watch FOIA, Thernstrom has been silent publicly and refused to vote on the interim report or sign letters seeking additional information. I would encourage Adam to interview her to obtain her latest take on the case. Frankly, the refusal of the Democratic members of the commission to address the substantive claims, their opposition to even commencing an investigation, and the close coordination in messaging between the Justice Department and commissioner Michael Yaki should be of concern to those who value an independent-minded commission.

As to the accusations against Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes, the accounts of two former Justice Department employees are in full agreement on the essential fact: Fernandes instructed the attorneys not to bring cases against black defendants. But let's call Fernandes to the stand and get her take.

As for Adam's reference to a case brought against a black defendant, the Ike Brown case was filed during the Bush administration over the extreme objection of liberal department attorneys and civil rights groups who don't believe non-traditional victims of civil rights laws should have the benefit of the government's protection.

Next, he is wrong on whether there was voter intimidation. The affidavits of poll watchers attest that there was. Moreover, the poll workers, who are also covered by the Voting Rights Act, were plainly menaced by the defendants.

I'm not sure what the list of complaints that Adam enumerates about a variety of Bush era policies have to do with this. The fact remains that multiple witnesses, the Justice Department's own limited responses to discovery requests (which concede some involvement from political appointees), the Judicial Watch FOIA case and the documents already revealed (including the memo complied by the trial team lawyers in early May explaining the merits of the case) suggest several salient facts: The case was dismissed at the behest of political appointees; the NAACP and other liberal interest groups objected to the filing of cases against minority defendants; in both the Ike Brown case and in the New Black Panther case, department attorneys evidenced hostility toward cases brought against minorities; civil rights department head Thomas Perez testified inaccurately under oath (despite a briefing by knowledgeable department attorneys who advised him against misleading testimony); and the Justice Department has refused to release relevant documents and tried to prevent percipient witnesses from testifying.

Unfortunately, the Justice Department is relying on public ignorance and Republicans' disinterest in order to limit further exploration of the case. That's not a good bet, liberal spin notwithstanding.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 3, 2011; 12:37 PM ET
 
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Comments

Unfortunately, the Justice Department is relying on public ignorance and Republicans' disinterest in order to limit further exploration of the case.

Actually, these two things are not seperate, but instead linked, since where you find public ignorance, you most often will also find conservatives.

Regardless of any of the rebuttal points that Ms. Rubin makes, she does not address the core fact that the intimidation that is described cannot be proved to have happened.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | January 3, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, Ms. Rubin is more interested in trying to link a black President to scary black men than the facts.

So, Ms. Rubin--what left-leaning civil rights groups do you assert influenced Holder's DoJ? Of course, she has no clue--this isn't about facts, it's about trying to generate racial divisions.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 3, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I have been menaced!! How do you intend to placate me?!?

Posted by: JkR- | January 3, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

All this is another "Shirley Sherrod" incident conjured up by Conservatives (with Rubin playing the role of Andrew Breitbart).
Is it any wonder blacks aren't Republicans? With all the blatant, in-your-face racism that exists in this country, Conservatives ALWAYS find that ONE story, that ONE reverse-racism charge I guess to make the point that whites aren't racist towards blacks, it's actually blacks who are racist towards whites.

These Conservatives aren't ignorant either. So, smart individuals are trying to make these baseless accusations stick. Why? Because they know the truth, they know that the racist charge has tarred the Republican Party for decades now, and with the U.S. becoming a minority-majority country more and more, if they don't fix that problem, they won't be able to "cling" to power.

It's really pitiful. What's even MORE pitiful, is a major newspaper like the Washington Post, would hire a piece of trash like Ms. Rubin. Well, now you get what you get. Someone willing to bring up this bunk in order to whip up white resentment of an African-American President. Truly disgusting!

Posted by: sachancp | January 3, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

It's Adam Serwer, not Sewer--some deep-seated bias showing there? And I don't think you meant "disinterest" (which meand lack of bias) so much as you meant lack of interest. You're a reporter--you should get these things right. When you don't it makes me wonder what else is slipshod in your article.

Posted by: naranja | January 3, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin:

Why don't you just cut to the chase and scream "Scary N***er! Scary N***er! Scary N***er!" I don't know if you personally are a racist - probably not. But we know full well the dogs you are whistling to. Just be honest, OK? Won't make it any less despicable - and that's what this is, ma'am - but at least you won't be hiding your intentions in some sort of technical legal argument. (And your argument is weak because, um, nobody complained of being intimidated. Also who were these guys trying to intimidate? Was Obama in danger of losing the North Philly vote? He won that ward/division 596 to 13. If they were trying to help a brother out then they should have chosen a more competitive ward. And if they were trying to intimidate voters against voting for Obama, I don't see why you or the people you are appealing to with your argument would care.)

Posted by: shamey73 | January 3, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

How come liberals are the only ones who get conservative dog whistles sent to them? I check my mailbox every day hoping to find mine -- nothing.

Posted by: grabowcp | January 3, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Look at the US Govt records uncovered thru the foia litigation. Holder, Perez & co. are busted. Lefties can squirm and squeel as much as they want. Res ipsa loquitur.

Posted by: Max55 | January 3, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

This feeds into the Republican narrative that Obama is leading a sinister plot to enslave white people. A few years ago, this would have been nutjob fringe material. Now it's the mainstream of the party. How far we as a nation have fallen.

Posted by: DaveHarris | January 3, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

This feeds into the Republican narrative that Obama is leading a sinister plot to enslave white people. A few years ago, this would have been nutjob fringe material. Now it's the mainstream of the party. How far we as a nation have fallen.

Posted by: DaveHarris | January 3, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The Serwer article was just another lame attempt to run cover for Holder's outrageously politicized DOJ. Thanks for the rebuttal.

Posted by: Tusec | January 3, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Yeah man. Plot to enslave white people. We're real worried about that.

*rolls eyes*

It's you liberal nutjobs who have lost your minds, not us. You went over the edge during the Bush years and have never recovered, and probably never will.

Posted by: Tusec | January 3, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

At 2:58 PM and 2:58 PM today DaveHarris posted (twice):

“This feeds into the Republican narrative that Obama is leading a sinister plot to enslave white people.”

Really? You must be wired into a new conspiracy theory I have never heard articulated.

“A few years ago, this would have been nutjob fringe material.”

It still is; but there you are, DH, flogging it for all that you are worth.

“Now it's the mainstream of the party. How far we as a nation have fallen.”

Take you meds, DH.

Oh boy, set up a ludicrous lying straw man argument and then ridicule it. Thank you for sharing such silliness.

Posted by: nvjma | January 3, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Leftists seem to be truly race-obsessed, based upon the above comments. I'm concerned if DOJ is looking the other way on any voter intimidation case. If it didn't happen, fine. I've read some strange things about this incident, such as Holder not wanting to look into it for certain reasons. Again, if it's not true, fine.

I don't give a crap who is what color. About all I can tell is that leftists have some laughable caricatures of what a 'conservative' or a 'Republican' is.

Posted by: jmpickett | January 3, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

WOW - talk about beating a dead horse. Keep trying.

Posted by: rlj1 | January 3, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The argument between two petty journalists who seem incapable of actually doing their own investigative work and more capable of parsing others peoples work into whatever shape fits their own agenda should be ignored.

Mr. Serwer's article is mostly usless. But then Ms. Rubin's original artcle is mostly an opportunity to hurl insults at AG Holder. The only issue here is whether the criminal case is supported by the facts or not as AG Holder claims. There appear to be real arguments on either side of this issue. Would be nice to see those actually argued pro and con.

The internal investigations at DoJ appear to be relevant to the changing nature of the USCCR. Which seems to be the issue at point in the case specified. It seems that investigation needs to resolve itself before the issues of this case can be properly taken into context.

As our society moves beyond our segragationist past voters rights infringement, where it exists, will take on different forms. It's never easy moving an old estabished institution in a different direction. When you add in partisan wrangling designed to hurt the current occupants in the institution soley because they're in a different party you make it even more difficult.

Ms. Rubin could make it easier and help move the USCCR in the right direction by being a real reporter and not a partisan hack. But that seems beyond her limited ability.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 3, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Serwer knows what he's talking about. This is the Gop's continued War on Brown people! This will be revealed by Issa's Hearings. Good for Dem's turnout! Proceed oh chosen ones!

Posted by: carolerae48 | January 3, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Rubin is not a reporter; she's a conservative opinion monger fighting for attention in a field crowded with folks like like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

The misspelling Serwer's name is pretty clear evidence of her lack of professional, let alone journalistic, standards.

Posted by: mmyotis | January 3, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

For the Justice Department to engage in this sort of double standard in the enforcement of civil rights laws is offensive. However, the worldview that thinks it's OK to apply such a double standard is out there - I've run into it. On the positive side when a new administration takes over there will be plenty of evidence (paper trails and emails) to identify the offenders and their Justice Department careers can (and should) be terminated immediately.

Posted by: Otiose1 | January 3, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin. Please name a voter who was intimidated?

I don't mean one of the GOP poll watchers (who called the police and the "offenders" were ordered off property) but rather an actual voter who was prevented from voting?

Oh, that's right. You can't. Perhaps that is why the [non]actions of two morons in Philly on election day don't rise to a federal charge.

And yes, by continuing to press this myth, you are creating a conspiracy that has its foundations in race.

If Dem poll watchers had videotaped a couple of beefy, preppy frat boys looking all tough at a polling place in a lilly white suburb, do you really believe that there would be an equal reaction? Might a Dem poll watcher ask the police to remove them? Yep.

Hmmm. What is it that makes those two guys in Philly intimidating to people like you? Gee, I wonder.

Give me a break. "Young, Dumb and Republican is no way to go through life."

Posted by: gregroa | January 3, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what an ignorant and dogmatic pile of pure bunk. Does the Post pay extra for this level of insipid stupidity?

Posted by: bmaz | January 4, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post used to be a real paper instead of a place where you can routinely find dishonest propaganda.

As noted by the Sadly No! blog, Lamar Smith's own website claims that Smith and Issa make the following race-baiting statement “Political favoritism has no place at the Justice Department. We’ve already seen this administration dismiss one case against a political ally—the New Black Panther Party—for no apparent reason. We remain concerned that politicization at the Justice Department once again may result in the administration’s political friends getting a free pass.” http://lamarsmith.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=196733

Jennifer Rubin is a dishonest hack and the post should be ashamed about the degradation of its journalistic standards.

Posted by: AdrianLesher | January 4, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Rubin fails to mention that not one voter has come forward to claim intimidation. That is a fact, while the underlying premise of Obama = black, the NBPP members = black, so there must be a conspiracy is not a fact. That's just racism.

Posted by: eganfoote | January 4, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post should go back to lobbying Congress on behalf of their for-profit, taxpayer-subsidized diploma mill (Kaplan University.
Those editorials are at least amusing. As hackish as this one, but funnier.

Posted by: kay5 | January 5, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

The New Black Panther Party intimidation was a non-issue ginned up by the propagandists at Fox News. Is this what the Washington Post wants to emulate with the hiring of Ms. Rubin? Is it that hard to find a conservative voice that is not blatantly dishonest?

Posted by: dstatton | January 5, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

You're an embarrassment, Ms. Rubin. You write that:

Adam asserts: "Republican congressmen Lamar Smith and Darrell Issa are literally accusing the Obama administration of favoring 'a political ally -- the New Black Panther Party.'" This is wrong.

Oopsy.

From Lamar Smith's own website:

"Political favoritism has no place at the Justice Department. We’ve already seen this administration dismiss one case against a political ally—the New Black Panther Party—for no apparent reason. We remain concerned that politicization at the Justice Department once again may result in the administration’s political friends getting a free pass."

http://lamarsmith.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=196733

Do you even know how to spell "journalism"? Or even "fact check"?

Posted by: jsmdlawyer | January 6, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rubin is a disgrace to the Washington Post and to America. I don't know of many pundits who are consistently as repugnant as this gal.

Posted by: sherirogers | January 8, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

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