I have attached a news report that appeared in the Monday, on the 11th of October edition of the Washington Times that addresses the continuing battle between the administration and its Department of Justice and the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
At the heart of the dispute is the extremely serious allegation that the Civil Rights Division was “racially selective” in enforcement of the civil rights laws that are supposed to protect all Americans.
I recently wrote a commentary about this ongoing matter that came to a head when the Justice Department decided to drop charges concerning alleged voter intimidation by members of the New Black Panther Party. Here is the quote from the newspaper article that sums up the situation succinctly:
A civil complaint had been filed in the New Black Panther Party case by the voting rights section in January 2009 in Philadelphia after two of its members in black berets, black combat boots, black shirts and black jackets purportedly intimidated voters with racial insults, slurs and a nightstick. A third party member was accused of managing, directing and endorsing their behavior. The incident was captured on videotape.
Four months later, the Justice Department dropped the charges, saying “the facts and the law did not support pursuing” them.
I recall that early in my career, just a few months after I entered on duty as a Criminal Investigator (Special Agent) for the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service), Frank Johnson, the Chief of the Frauds Unit within the Investigations Branch of the New York District Office conducted an “all hands meeting” as was customary on paydays which occurred every other Thursday. Back then we were physically handed our paychecks- direct deposit was years in the future, and before receiving our paychecks Mr. Johnson would address all of the agents who were assigned to his unit.
On this particular day, Mr. Johnson made a point he often repeated even after he went on to become the chief of all of the special agents of the New York District Office. His comment was short and to the point:
“As federal agents, it is not enough that you do not engage in wrong doing, you must never even give the illusion of doing wrong!”
Frank Johnson was “old school.” He became an INS investigator when I was all of three years old. He was the “father figure” to most of the young agents in the office and he was one of those guys who would wear any color shirt, just so long as it was crisply starched white!
He punctuated his remarks with his cigarette and was a firm believer of leading by example! He held himself to a higher standard than he expected of those under his command!
I was made to think about Frank’s wise admonition when I read, with much frustration, that the Justice Department had ordered its employees to ignore subpoenas and not testify before the Civil Rights Commission. I was further angered to read that the Justice Department was refusing to make purportedly relevant documents available to the Civil Rights Commission.
As an INS special agent, I was an employee of the Department of Justice- the INS was one of several component agencies of the DOJ before the INS was dissolved and folded into the DHS.
As INS employees we were instructed that if any employees refused to answer official questions about our conduct, actions or failures to take action, notwithstanding our protections under the Fifth Amendment against self incrimination that we could expect to be fired.
This made perfect sense to us back in the academy and make perfect sense to me to this very day!
If there is nothing to hide, why not simply have all employees be made available?
If there is nothing to hide, why not make all relevant documents available?
Lady Justice is seen to be blindfolded while holding the Scales of Justice. The blindfold is supposed to be symbolic of a system of justice that ignores the wealth or the race or the ethnicity or the sex of those who come before the bar of justice. The battles waged to promulgate civil rights legislation were needed because members of America’s minority groups were being treated unfairly. The concept of Civil Rights is an important one- but in order to live up to the high ideal that was behind those ground breaking laws, those laws must be applied and enforced fairly and equally.
The allegation that civil rights laws would only be brought to bear if whites were violating the rights of blacks is a serious and disturbing allegation- no less disturbing if the reverse was alleged.
Law enforcement officers are trained to avoid racial profiling at all costs- the apparent reasoning of this is to insure that members of racial minority groups are not singled out for unfair treatment. Purported concerns about racial profiling has been cited by the administration in criticizing and, indeed, litigating against the state of Arizona for its passage of SB 1070 (Arizona’s recently enacted state immigration law). While I am convinced that the administration’s stated concerns about racial profiling in the matter of SB 1070 are without merit, it is extremely important to consider just how unbalanced the Scales of Justice would appear to be under this administration!
Christopher Coates and J. Christopher Adams should be candidates for the Presidential Medal of Freedom but I suspect that they will have to wait for a different administration for this to become a possibility!
Consider this sentence from the news article:
“Notwithstanding that interference, the commission has heard from eyewitnesses detailed allegations of malfeasance in the Civil Rights Division, which are at war with its core mission,” the letter says, noting the testimony of Christopher Coates, former chief of the voting rights section, and J. Christian Adams, lead prosecutor in the New Black Panther case.
As I noted in my previous commentary about the manner in which the Justice Department was acting insofar as its alleged and seeming hostility in applying civil rights laws when whites are alleged to have become the victims of civil rights violations, the administration and the folks at the Department of Justice need to recall the words of the Pledge of Allegiance of the United States- in particular, the final six words:
“With liberty and justice for all!”
I am gratified that the Civil Rights Commission is going forward with its investigation.
I recall reading that Congressman Lamar Smith, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee has been pushing this investigation of alleged, nonfeasance, misfeasance and possibly malfeasance by the Department of Justice where these serious allegations about failures to apply civil rights laws equally are concerned. I certainly commend his efforts to see to it that “Justice” be restored at the United States Department of Justice!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
In just 6 weeks each and every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection and more than one third of the members of the United States Senate will have to face their constituents. They need to be reminded that they work for us, We the People!
However, the practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to get involved!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated; this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!