Playing politics with the Justice Department

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on May 29, 2009

Remember back when Democrats cared about the "politicization" of the Justice Department after President George W. Bush fired a handful of U.S. attorneys -- people who serve at the president's pleasure?

Well, those days are apparently long gone. From The Washington Times comes word that President Barack Obama's political appointees have overruled career Justice Department lawyers who were preparing to seek civil sanctions against three New Black Panther Party thugs who were "guarding" a Philadelphia polling place last November.

Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews.

The incident - which gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube - had prompted the government to sue the men, saying they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring would-be voters with the weapon, racial slurs and military-style uniforms.

Career lawyers pursued the case for months, including obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago.

To jog your memory, the video is here:

Anyone want to take any bets that a couple of good ol' boys wearing confederate flag T-shirts and carrying an baseball bat acting as "security" outside a polling place in Alabama would have received similar consideration from the Obama Justice Department.

Will someone ask Robert Gibbs is the Obama administration is OK with this thuggery?

0 comments on “Playing politics with the Justice Department”


I'm half-way through this opening statement by @mtaibbi and already I want to stand and applaud.

This complaint was resolved (not really!) in mere hours!

Seriously, this is crazy, @factchecknet. Your transparency on this craziness is long overdue. @baybarsorsek @Ferdi_Ozsoy

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