The Problem With Perez
If you saw a man standing outside the grocery store swinging a baton and glowering at passers-by, would you go inside?
Perhaps, but more likely you would decide you didn’t need arugula that night after all. True, the baton wielder never actually said, “Buy arugula and get beat down,” but then he didn’t really have to, did he?
Similarly, a man standing in front of a voting precinct would send equally unmistakable and threatening signals. On Election Day 2008, two men were famously filmed — one brandishing a weapon — in front of a polling place in Philadelphia.
You may think such blatant acts of voter intimidation would violate some sort of law, and you’d be right; specifically, Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act. Consequently, in the wake of the widely circulated video of the men intimidating voters, both members of the racialist New Black Panther Party, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division responded to public pressure by initiating an investigation and, ultimately, pursuing a civil action against the two Panthers who had become unwitting YouTube stars, as well as the Panther organization itself and its national chairman.
Then, a funny thing happened on the way to justice. Legal actions against three of the four defendants were subsequently abandoned. Why? The Justice Department claimed insufficient evidence, but some observers wondered if there wasn’t something else going on. One former Justice Department lawyer intimately involved in the Black Panther case, J. Christian Adams, saw ideology behind much of the workings of the Obama Justice Department, including the decision to drop charges in the Black Panther case.”To some, the civil rights laws are not meant to protect all Americans. They are meant to protect certain Americans,” wrote Mr. Adams.Why does any of this matter now, more than four years after the Panthers brandished their weapons on behalf of Barack Obama?
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