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BOOK REVIEW: In 'Injustice' J. Christian Adams Exposes 'Racialization' of Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice Under Attorney Gen. Eric Holder
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 17:26 Reviewed by David M. KinchenFormer Department of Justice attorney J. Christian Adams in his "Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department" (Regnery, 256 pages, $27.95) says the "racialization" of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department has reached a point where the best solution might be to disband the division and disperse its 800 employees around the DOJ.
Adams, who quit after 5 years at the DOJ, says it's gotten so bad under Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. -- infamous for his disastrous "Fast and Furious" scheme of selling guns to Mexican drug lords (link to lastest news on F&F: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Smith-Holder-investigation-gunrunning/2011/10/04/id/413249) -- that the Civil Rights Division has become something out of "Alice in Wonderland" and harbors people who have so little work to do that they play video games on their computers all day and come to work late. These game players and web surfers include attorneys making considerably more than $100,000 a year, he writes. Many of them were new hires who were laid off by the ACLU or the NAACP, he adds.
As America's premier federal law enforcement agency, the Justice Department is supposed to be color-blind and immune from party politics. But under the Obama Administration's Holder, who views himself as a black man first last and always, Adams says, the division has made it a policy not to sue black office holders who are denying white voters access to the polls. Furthermore, Holder has made it a policy to make it more difficult for military personnel serving oversees to get absentee ballots.
A race neutral Civil Rights Division like the ones that functioned in the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations?:
"Not so in the Obama Justice Department," says Adams, who blew the whistle on the Justice Department's handling of the infamous New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case and resigned in disgust. Adams says Obama's inauguration and Holder's confirmation led to the inevitable: the DOJ's aggressive radical agenda and a DOJ that needs a thorough revamping.
Founded in 1957 under the Eisenhower Administration when African-Americans throughout the South were being denied the right to vote by entrenched white Democrats, the Civil Rights Division served a useful purpose for many years, says Adams. Under Holder the division has been marked by racially discriminatory law enforcement, politicized and ideological hiring, court-imposed sanctions on DOJ lawyers and lack of enforcement of the Motor Voter law that mandates purging deceased citizens and convicted felons from the voting rolls.
The DOJ's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms "Fast and Furious" program and the dysfunctional Civil Rights Division portrayed in "Injustice" demonstrates that the entire DOJ is experiencing a meltdown under Holder's leadership, Adams says
Divulging never-before-published details on several important cases—including the Black Panther case—"Injustice" exposes how the very government department responsible for enforcing equal protection has been overrun by radicals hell bent on furthering a fringe political agenda. (For those who missed the coverage, such as it was in the mainstream media, the case against the racist and anti-Semitic New Black Panther Party, charged with intimidating white and black voters alike on Election Day 2008 in Philadelphia, was dropped by the DOJ. Could this be a coincidence with the appearance of New Black Panther members at Selma, Alabama when candidate Obama spoke a few weeks before the election? Or could Obama be signaling, as some lawyers in the division have stated, that the only minorities the division cares about are Blacks and Hispanics.
Adams names names in his book, including Avner Shapiro, who testified in the Ike Brown corruption case: "I didn't come to work in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to sue black people." (Brown is the African-American boss of majority black Noxubee County, MIssissippi, who was sued during the Bush 43 administration for intimidating both white voters and black voters who insisted on filling out their own ballots, without the use of Brown's "assistors" who often marked the ballots themselves. It was the first case of a black being sued by the DOJ for denying voting to whites.)
Another name Adams gives us is Loretta King, an assistant attorney general, whom he says followed Holder's marching orders by changing hiring guidelines that ensured race neutral hiring under previous Attorney General Michael Mukasey to ensure that only leftists and committed ideologues would be hired.
"Injustice" is such an important book, that I'm quoting a particularly relevant passage at length:
BEWARE THE RED FILES
Obama and his backers have engaged in a strange form of political projection, baselessly accusing the Bush Civil Rights Division of the exact kind of malfeasance and bias that have become hallmarks of the division under Obama’s presidency. This is evident time and again in the administration of Section 5, which during the Bush years was one of the chief areas critics claimed had become politicized …
To understand the Obama administration’s duplicity, it’s important to understand how Section 5 enforcement works. DOJ Section 5 regulations give the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights the authority to interpose an objection to a state law. The regulations, however, do not allow the AAG to approve state election changes. As a matter of longstanding practice, the career bureaucrats inside the Voting Section review state submissions. They gather facts, conduct interviews and, if they are satisfied the proposal does not discriminate, approve the plan. … Submissions that are pre-cleared don’t reach up into the political ranks of the department. … Only if the technicians, lawyers, and statisticians detect problems justifying an objection do the political appointees get involved.
The exercise of an objection to a submission is a profound power. Such federal oversight is at the farthest frontier of federal power under the Constitution. Thus, it is understandable that the AAG alone, and not the bureaucrats in the Voting Section, has the authority to object to a submission. … The AAG remains free … to reject or accept the recommendation. But the important point is that internally, the Voting Section is responsible for pre-clearances, while the political appointees are responsible for accepting or rejecting a Voting Section recommendation for an objection.
The Obama DOJ has turned this process upside down. According to sources inside the Voting Section, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes has implemented a new Section 5 process that shifts massive power to approve state laws into the DOJ’s political ranks. It works like this: when a politically important submission comes in, Fernandes or some other Obama appointee now tags it as a “red file” — it is literally placed into a red file so everyone knows this is a state law that keenly interests the Obama political appointees. Red files are treated much differently from other submissions because the staff members know their work is being watched at the highest levels of the department. It also sends a signal to the career technicians that they should be extra aggressive in collecting evidence of discrimination.
Longstanding DOJ practices have been jettisoned when it comes to red files. Instead of the Voting Section technicians deciding to pre-clear the submissions, only the political appointees inside the Civil Rights Division are allowed to pre-clear them. Under every prior administration, complex objection memos were required to support any objection. With red files, up has become down and complex pre-clearance memos are now required to justify a pre-clearance. Sources inside the DOJ tell me they have to work as hard for a pre-clearance now as they used to for an objection. This review process is a corrupt, politicized deviation from standard procedures. Politics enter the process the moment the Obama political appointees scan the submission horizon for state laws they want to subject to hyper-scrutiny.
Obviously, states long targeted by the Obama DOJ such as Arizona are justified in fearing the red file process. Sources also tell me every statewide redistricting submission for Congress, state house, and state senate will be stuck in a red file automatically by order of the Obama political appointees. That means redistricting plans in states like Florida, South Carolina, New York, California, Arizona, Georgia, South Dakota, and others will all suffer politicized scrutiny. If this isn’t enough reason for states to bypass the DOJ entirely and submit plans directly to the federal court for approval, then nothing is.
The new procedures for red files inject political manipulation into the review of election laws in nearly a third of all the states in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. It means Obama political appointees will be deciding whether or not certain election laws are effective in states that are home to more than half of the American population. This is exactly the sort of alleged politicization that was vehemently condemned by Democratic politicians, leftwing academics, and the media during the Bush years. But not one peep will be heard from them about red files — unless, of course, a Republican defeats President Obama in 2012 and keeps the red file policy in place. Only then will we hear the familiar cries of protest.
* * *
Adams was hired in 2005 and was supervised by a man he considers one of the "good guys," Christopher Coates, who stepped down as chief of the voting division in December 2009 in the wake of the dropping of the case against the New Black Panthers. While left-wing critics of Adams have called his allegations "fantasies" (a description by Abigail Thernstrom, vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights), Coates' subsequent testimony before that very same U. S. Commission on Civil Rights supported Adams' allegations. The Commission's report found that "This Interim Report is the story of a cover-up of a possible racial double standard in law enforcement in the Civil Right Division of the U.S. Department of Justice."
I had previously believed that the Department of Justice was running amok, but the abuses Adams chronicles surprised even a cynic like me. There are far too many people in some parts of the government -- like DOJ lawyers -- and far too few doing vital work like guarding our borders.
About the Author
J. Christian Adams served for five years as an attorney in the Voting Section of the United States Department of Justice. In that capacity, he brought cases to protect a wide variety of racial minorities, including blacks, Hispanics, and the first ever application of the Voting Rights Act to protect white voters -- in the Ike Brown case. A former general counsel to the South Carolina Secretary of State, he is now a practicing attorney and a contributing writer to Pajamas Media.
Publisher's website: www.regnery.com