In mid-April, while commenting on the gaping lack of trust our citizens now bear toward their government, I noted that one of the reasons for the loss of faith is growing evidence that the Justice Department has become incompetent or politicized or both. One of the more alarming examples of politicization was the decision to drop what would seem to be an ice-cold case against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation at a Philadelphia polling place. (The C&C News Scan recently reported new developments in the matter).
The story is being covered in depth by Powerline, whose most recent entry is here. Having been both a career attorney at the Department and a political appointee, I am appalled by it. One of the two career attorneys who had been handling the matter thought the behavior of his political superiors so shocking and dishonest that he could not continue at the Department. In an op-ed in the Washington Times, he made this observation:
The New Black Panther case was the simplest and most obvious violation of federal law I saw in my Justice Department career. Because of the corrupt nature of the dismissal, statements falsely characterizing the case and, most of all, indefensible orders for the career attorneys not to comply with lawful subpoenas investigating the dismissal, this month I resigned my position as a Department of Justice attorney.
The Department's decision to drop the case, apparently because the Black Panther toughs were intimidating "only" white and Republican voters, is a scandal unto itself. But's that's too obvious for argument. What I want to flag here is the other scandal: the Big Press Cover-Up.
This case is being covered on Fox News, two local Washington newspapers (the Times and the Examiner) and some conservative blogs.
Try finding a bloomin' thing about it on any of the major networks, or in the Washington Post, New York Times or LA Times.
If this were the prior administration, and toughs in Klan robes with billy clubs were "patrolling" a polling place in Philadelphia, Mississippi -- and Alberto Gonzales's DOJ couldn't find anything to prosecute -- do you think we would have heard about it from the NYT? Or, to put it another way, do you think we would have heard about anything else?