Let’s start with the facts; on election day 2008 in outside a polling station based in a housing project in Philadelphia two guys in rather in your face paramilitary looking gear stood around trying to look fierce and got caught on tape saying some mean stuff about white people. This was, as it should be, investigated by the local and Federal authorities for possible voter intimidation. It was decided by the Justice Department of President Bush and the local authorities that while these guys were assholes they did not do anything that could be successfully prosecuted and the case was dropped. All of this happened before President Obama ever took office.
"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"
Now this little non-story has become a cause célèbre for the Conservative Right. There has been the usual conservative fumbling; at the start they did not acknowledge that the decision to drop the investigation was made by the Bush DOJ not the Obama DOJ. Still it has not gone away. The folks at Faux News, with the help of total scumbags of the Andrew Breitbart, have latched on to the meme of "them scary Black folks are coming for you!" and aren’t going to let it go.
On Friday seven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary committee decided to weigh in. They wrote a letter to the Chair Leahy asking for an investigation of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, under the charge that it was being politicized. I know, take a minute to wipe the coffee off your screen. This is the classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Lest the memory hole has robbed us of the facts about the Bush Era Civil Rights Division, let me give you a little refresher. CRD was run for a time by Bradley Scholzman. Mr. Scholzman was forced to resign because of his blatant forcing out of long time career lawyers and their replacement with lawyers picked for their political views and loyalty to the Bush agenda.
This is important to remember because the so-called "whistle blower" J. Christian Adams, was hired by Scholzman at the height of the ideological purge in the CRD. He worked specifically in the Voting Rights Section, which under the Bush administration had stopped protecting the rights of voters and focusing on non-existent voter fraud. He is the person that is making the claim that the Obama DOJ ignored the advice of career attorneys in the Voting Rights Section of the DOJ.
Yep, think about that for a minute. A partisan attorney, hired at a time and by a man who was known for specifically trying to replace career DOJ attorneys with politically reliable ones is making an accusation against the Democratic administration that replaced the one he supported. This is the basis for the complaint by the Republican Senators. The same senators that did nothing to provide oversight at the DOJ during the criminal Bush administration.
It would be nice if we could just laugh this off, but it really points up the problem with our system of government. When the Republican Party was in power the DOJ abused its position in a myriad of ways, from okaying torture, to politically motivated prosecution of Democratic politicians to faux voter fraud investigations. At the time they could not be bothered to look into it. After the Republicans lost the White House, they did everything they could to make it clear that any investigation in to the prima facie crimes of the Bush administration and its DOJ would be met with apocalyptic levels of resistance.
Now, when there is a non-scandal pushed by Fox News and a "loyal Bushie" from the DOJ they are all over it like white on rice. This is political hypocrisy of the highest order. The fact is that in this nation there is near absolute prosecutorial discretion. That means that a prosecutor can decide to pursue a case or not, based on his or her estimation of the odds of conviction. If there is not enough evidence to secure a conviction cases are often dropped. This is the call that the Bush DOJ made, even with their bias towards such cases and the Obama DOJ concurred. The people who disagree are, in at least the case of Mr. Adams, political hacks put in to the VRS for their views on cases like this.
That these facts are not enough to dissuade the several Republican Senators who sit on the Judiciary Committee is a sad and troubling example of what we can expect from any Republican controlled House or Senate. They are willing, hell, eager, to pounce on any whiff of scandal and spend the time and effort of their committees investigating it.
This kind of thing makes my blood boil. The politicization of the DOJ is the greatest wound the Bush Administration ever inflected on the nation. The crippling debt, the two unfunded wars, the Wild West regulatory environment are all bad, but they don’t strike at the core of the nation like making the Department of Justice a political arm of the White House. Now, after Republicans have screwed up one of the most important Cabinet level departments in government, they are trying to lay the blame for their actions on the Obama administration, and the first African American Attorney General in history.
Here a major reason, as if we needed more in the legion of them, why we must keep the House and Senate majorities. This is the kind of government we will get if we allow them to have subpoena power to abuse again as they did during the Clinton administration. We will not see any action on climate change, or DOMA or DADT or jobs or any of the other problems facing the nation. What we will see is an endless and pointless round of hearings into such important topics as the way that the presidents dog is kenneled and are the burrowed in politically hired career lawyers at the DOJ being treated badly.
The choice is clear, fumbling and partially ineffective Democrats or Republicans who will run roughshod over the systems and laws of our nation in pursuit of political and monetary gain. For me it is no choice. Any group who will willfully politicize the law, who will try (and to a great deal succeed) to subvert the Department responsible for the fair and equitable enforcement of our laws can not be allowed to be in power. As life long Democrat I can say that if the Democrats where the party doing this, I would be switching my registration today. I am lucky that it is the Republicans who have decided that the law and the fair application of it have no real value. Maybe lucky isn’t the right word, given what might happen after this fall’s elections.
The floor is yours.