WaPo Blockbuster Story on Holder’s Black Panthers
On Election Day 2008, Maruse Heath, the leader of Philadelphia's New Black Panther Party, stood in front of a neighborhood polling place, dressed in a paramilitary uniform.
Within hours, an amateur video showing Heath, slapping a black nightstick and exchanging words with the videographer, had aired on TV and ricocheted across the nation.
Among those who saw the footage was J. Christian Adams, who was in his office in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in Washington.
"I thought, 'This is wrong, this is not supposed to happen in this country,' " Adams said. "There are armed men in front of a polling place, and I need to find out if they violated the law, because in my mind there's a good chance that they did."
The clash between the black nationalist and the white lawyer has mushroomed into a fierce debate over the government's enforcement of civil rights laws, a dispute that will be aired next week when the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights unveils findings from a year-long investigation.
Two months after Election Day, Adams and his supervisors in the George W. Bush administration filed a voter-intimidation lawsuit against Heath and his colleagues, even though no voters had complained. The Obama administration months later dismissed most of the case, even though the Panthers had not contested the charges.
Interviews and government documents reviewed by The Washington Post show that the case tapped into deep divisions within the Justice Department that persist today over whether the agency should focus on protecting historically oppressed minorities or enforce laws without regard to race.
Of course the Justice Department has to focus on enforcing laws without regard to race. To focus on protecting historically oppressed minorities makes a mockery of the freedoms we all share. This is what extreme political correctness is doing to us, making us perpetual apologizers to the mistaken prejudices of our fathers instead of moving ahead after those mistakes have been rectified.
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