J Christian Adams testimony, US Commission on Civil Rights, Julie Fernandez
J Christian Adams, a former attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the US Justice Department, testified Tuesday, July 6, 2010, before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Adams is interviewed afterwards on FOX News by Megyn Kelly.
Adams alleges that the Justice Dept ignores voter fraud and states that a mandate came from Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandez.
Julie Fernandez Deputy Assistant Attorney General
From the National Review January 12, 2010.
“Politicizing the Law”
“Eric Holder’s Justice Department has exiled Christopher Coates to South Carolina.
Coates, you may recall, is a career attorney at Justice, the chief of the Civil Rights Division’s (CRD) Voting Section. More to the point, Coates recommended that the CRD file a lawsuit for voter intimidation against the New Black Panther party and several of its members, who were in paramilitary uniforms (one of them waving a nightstick) threatening elderly white voters at a polling station in Philadelphia during last year’s elections.
Political appointees at the Justice Department overrode Coates’s recommendation. They ordered him to dismiss the lawsuit against all but one of the defendants, even though they were in default because they did not defend themselves. The eventual injunction against the defendant with the weapon was laughably weak.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has opened an investigation of the unexplained dismissal. It has subpoenaed Coates, but Justice has ordered Coates not to appear before the panel. Indeed, the partisan Democrats running the Civil Rights Division have barred Coates and another career lawyer, Christian Adams, from providing any assistance to the commission or the Republican congressmen investigating the matter. What are they so afraid will be revealed?”
“Washington today is infested with advocacy groups run by radicals who view the law — particularly federal civil-rights statutes like the Voting Rights Act — as a weapon to be used to further ideological goals, cement political control, and demonize political opponents. By contrast, fair-minded liberals and conservatives — at least those with whom I worked in the Civil Rights Division during the Bush administration — saw their duty as one of enforcing the law in a neutral manner within the narrow and objective strictures of federal statutes and case law. They did not assume the federal government had a monopoly on civil-rights virtue. They insisted that career attorneys recognize the proper role of the judiciary in what they asked courts to do. They recognized the need for restraint in certain investigatory activity lest the threat of federal power produce results that the law would not command.
Despite this conscious, principled adherence to “blind justice” and the constitutional role of the judiciary, some in the Bush Department of Justice found themselves accused of “politicization” when they tried to hire lawyers who would respect and carry out these principles. The radical Left simply could not tolerate a system in which the liberal ideologues who already predominated the career ranks in the CRD were not replicated in all hiring decisions.
The recent personnel action against Coates exposes the injustice (and hypocrisy) of the Left’s demagoguery. For all intents and purposes, the transfer was a demotion. A demotion for doing the right thing.”
“I would trace it to his mistake of enforcing civil-rights laws even-handedly. In 2003, while I was still at the CRD, we received complaints that black officials in Noxubee County, Miss., were discriminating against white voters. Coates went down and investigated. He found blatant racial discrimination occurring in the polls. The discrimination was organized, led, and orchestrated by the black head of the local Democratic party’s executive committee, a two-time felon. A federal district court found “improper, and in some instances fraudulent conduct . . . for the purpose of diluting white voting strength.” The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, when it upheld the judgment against the defendants, found there was intentional discrimination against white voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
Coates’s audacity, first in investigating this case and then in recommending that a lawsuit be filed, made him many enemies. Previously, he had spent his entire career filing lawsuits on behalf of minority voters who had suffered discrimination. But in Noxubee, the white voters being discriminated against were the minority, representing only about 30 percent of voters. Their race made no difference to Coates, but based on what I observed, it made a big difference to ultra-liberal lawyers inside and outside the Justice Department.
When Coates first went to Noxubee to investigate the complaints, a number of the Voting Section’s career lawyers expressed disgust that we would bother to protect white voters. Coates was astonished by the blatantly illegal behavior he saw going on in the polls, but many of his colleagues wanted to ignore it. Several career lawyers in the section flatly refused to work on the case.”
“That brings us to the real bone of contention, the final reason Coates has been transferred: the voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther party. NBPP members were hurling racial epithets and threatening voters at a polling place in Philadelphia. It was among the most blatant cases of voter intimidation the CRD had seen in decades. Adams was one of three lawyers assigned to the case by Coates, no doubt because, unlike the other career lawyers in the Voting Section, Adams would not refuse to sue non-white perpetrators of voter intimidation. The other two lawyers on the New Black Panther party case were Robert Popper and Spencer Fisher, both highly dedicated voting-rights attorneys as well.”
“One former Voting Section career lawyer who had left the Justice Department to go to work for the NAACP, Kristen Clarke, admitted to the Washington Times that she talked to the new political leadership after Obama was inaugurated, berating them for not dismissing the case. Sources at Justice tell me Clarke made an identical pitch to her former colleagues in the Voting Section once Obama and Eric Holder came to power.
The entreaties proved productive. According to the Washington Times, Loretta King, whom Obama named the acting assistant attorney general of the CRD, ordered Coates to dismiss the case against three of the defendants despite their default. King apparently received approval from Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli to do so. Who else Perrelli spoke with in the Justice Department and the White House is the subject of continued stonewalling in response to the subpoenas served on Justice by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission
Meanwhile, the forced dismissal of the New Black Panther case turned out to be just the beginning of the misery heaped on Coates. According to multiple sources at Justice, King and the political appointees who came in soon after Obama’s inauguration — particularly Julie Fernandez, an ideological firebrand and former lawyer for the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights — put severe restrictions on Coates almost as soon as they arrived and began micromanaging all of his work. The new political apparatchiks stripped Coates of virtually all discretionary authority, delegated responsibility for most decisions to more “results-oriented” underlings in the Voting Section, and rendered him a virtual figurehead.”
“Like Coates, Adams and the entire New Black Panther party trial team are consummate professionals who seek to enforce the laws without political or ideological considerations. Unfortunately, such lawyers are a rarity within the Civil Rights Division, which is without doubt one of the most insidiously partisan places I have ever worked, inside or outside of government.
Over the past year, all hiring within the CRD has been done on a purely partisan, ideological basis. Doubtless that will continue to happen over the next three years.”
“Hans A. von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Justice Department.”
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