The decision to drop two defendants from the New Black Panther case and focus solely against the individual who held the baton has been presented as proof positive that the Obama administration is racist.
Rush Limbaugh claims that Eric Holder and Barack Obama "continue to protect and represent" the New Black Panther Party and that the narrowing of the case was "the natural course of events" with a black president and attorney general. Glenn Beck has claimed that the NBPP "have ties to the White House." Conservative bloggers have decried "Eric Holder's racist enforcement policies." At the heart of this narrative is the presumption that the Obama administration is racially selective in enforcing the law as a result of the president's personal hatred for white people, that he or Eric Holder directly interfered with the case, out of affinity or solidarity with the anti-white NBPP.
But it's worth noting that J. Christian Adams, the voting-rights attorney with a conservative background who has been heralded by the right as a whistle-blower, makes no such broad claims. During his testimony before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, he said there was no indication anyone above the attorneys running the Civil Rights Division at the time, Steve Rosenbaum and Loretta King, ordered the case dismissed. From a transcript of the hearing last week in which he testified before the commission:
This doesn't end the controversy. Adams is still making broader (as yet uncorroborated) allegations about the culture within the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division. To the extent that Adams claims "political appointees" had the case narrowed, he is referring to King and Rosenbaum, but I'm not sure why it matters if there was no one pressuring from outside the division. Their employment at DoJ predates the Obama administration, and Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez has characterized them as career attorneys. Based on prior testimony, higher-ups at DoJ would still have had to approve the decision, and conservatives could try to extrapolate from that the possibility that even if Holder didn't initiate the narrowing, he was OK with it. It's a stretch.
But what Adams has explicitly said is that there's no evidence he is aware of that the decision to narrow the case came from anyone above King or Rosenbaum. No one can credibly argue, based on Adams' testimony, that Holder or Obama came in and directly interfered with this case.
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