NOTE: This post has been UPDATED, twice.
Article 2, Section 4, of the Constitution provides that
The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
“Civil officers,” the American Bar Association explains, “include federal judges and cabinet members….” Based on whistle-blowing testimony before the Civil Rights Commission Friday by Christopher Coates, formerly head of the Voting Rights Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Attorney General Eric Holder, that most uncivil of all “civil officers,” should be impeached.
Coates’s testimony, given in defiance of DOJ’s attempt to muzzle him, confirms the testimony, also given to the Civil Rights Commission under oath, of another career DOJ lawyer, and now former career DOJ lawyer, J. Christian Adams, that the Voting Rights Section systematically refuses to enforce voting rights in the race-neutral manner required by law.
I testified before the Commission in July that Obama political appointee Julie Fernandes made it clear that the Voting Section at the Justice Department would not be bringing any more cases against traditional national racial minorities, like the members of the New Black Panthers. Under oath, Coates corroborated my testimony.
The public has been wondering for over a year why the case was dismissed. Coates testified why today:
[There is a] deep-seated opposition to the race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of whites who have been discriminated against.
Coates verified that the DOJ is infested with racially motivated hostility towards equal enforcement of the law. Like me, Coates testified about the history of open and pervasive hostility inside the Voting Section to protecting the rights of white voters. This hostility first emerged in the case against Ike Brown in Noxubee County, Mississippi, going back as far as 2004:
The opposition within the Voting Section to taking actions on behalf of white voters in Noxubee County, Mississippi, … was widespread.
Coates confirmed that senior managers didn’t even want to open the investigation into discrimination against white voters in Noxubee County:
The Deputy Chief who was leading that election coverage asked me: “can you believe that we are going to Mississippi to protect white voters?”
Coates also testified that he was reprimanded by Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King when he asked attorneys in job interviews if they could enforce the law equally. Coates asked them if they were willing to enforce the law in a racially neutral fashion, regardless of the race of the wrongdoer, even if the wrongdoer was black. Naturally, this inquiry into the applicant’s sense of fairness greatly offended the racially obsessed King. Her agenda was quite different than Coates’ agenda. Coates testified he was summoned to the senior political offices for a tongue-lashing by King, and the interview questions Coates was asking had to go:
King took offense that I was asking such a question of job applicants and directed me not to ask it again because she does not support equal enforcement of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act….
He testified, as I did, that Justice Department attorneys and staff flatly refused to work on cases where the wrongdoer was black:
[An attorney told Coates in] no uncertain terms that he had not come to the Voting Section to sue African American defendants. … One of the social scientists who worked in the Voting Section and whose responsibility it was to do past and present research into a local jurisdiction’s history flatly refused to participate in the investigation. On another occasion, a Voting Section career attorney informed me that he was opposed to bringing voting rights cases against African American defendants … until we reached the day when the socio-economic status of blacks in Mississippi was the same as the socio-economic status of whites living there.
All of the employees Coates discusses here are still employed by the Civil Rights Division.
In his explosive prepared testimony, Coates also stated:
- he was testifying in defiance of DOJ instructions not to because he knows some DOJ statements to the Commission are inaccurate and “do not reflect the hostile atmosphere that has existed within the CRD [Civil Rights Division] for a long time against race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act” and that he is unwilling to “sit silently by at the direction of my supervisors while incorrect information is provided.”
- Despite having observed and documented in Noxubee County, Mississippi, “some of the most outrageous and blatantly discriminatory behavior at the polls committed by [county Democratic boss] Ike Brown and his allies that I have seen or had reported to me in my thirty-three plus years a voting rights litigator,” there was bitter opposition in the Voting Rights Section to pursuing the matter. Joe Rich, the head of the Voting Rights Section at the time, omitted the part of a Memo from Coates outlying why an investigation should be conducted.
- “I talked with one career attorney with whom I had previously worked successfully in a voting case and asked him whether he might be interested in working on the Ike Brown case. He informed me in no uncertain terms that he had not come to the Voting Section to sue African-American defendants.” One of the social scientists “flatly refused to participate in the investigation.”
- “On another occasion a Voting Section career attorney informed me that he was opposed to bringing voting rights cases against African-American defendants … until we reached the day when the economic status of blacks in Mississippi was the same [as] whites living there.”
- A young African-American paralegal who had worked on the Ike Brown case and later the Philadelphia Black Panther Party case and his mother “were harrassed by an attorney in the Section and by an administrative employee and a paralegal….”
- After successfully prosecuting the Ike Brown case [494 F. Supp. 2d 440 (2007), 561 F. 3d 420 (2009)], Coates was told by Mark Kappelhoff, then chief of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, that the precedent it set for race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act “had caused the CRD [Civil Rights Division] problems in its relationship with civil rights groups.” He was, of course, correct, Coates added, that “these groups are opposed to the race-neutral enforcement of the VRA, that they only want the Act enforced for the benefit of racial minorities, and that they had complained bitterly about the Ike Brown case,” that “they have not pursued the goal of equal protection of law for all people. Instead, [they] act not as civil rights groups, but as special interest lobbies for racial and ethnic minorities and demand, not equal treatment, but enforcement of the VRA only for racial and language minorities. Such a claim for unequal treatment is the ultimate demand for preferential racial treatment.”
- “The election of President Obama brought to positions of influence and power within the Civil Rights Division many of the very people who had demonstrated hostility to the concept of equal enforcement of the VRA. For example, Mr. Kapplehoff … was appointed as the Acting Chief of Staff for the entire CRD. And Loretta King, the person who forbid me even to ask applicants for a Voting Section position whether he or she would be willing to enforce the VRA in a race-neutral manner, was appointed Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.”
- “It is my opinion that [dropping] the NBPP [National Black Panther Party] case was ordered because the people calling the shots in May 2009 were angry at the filing of the Ike Brown case and angry our filing of the NBPP case.
That is just a sample. Read the entire testimony, and look at the actual testimony, because there’s much, much more. But what Coates documents in excruciating, painful detail is the Civil Rights Division’s “anger was the result of their deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the VRA against racial minorities and for the protection of whites who have been discriminated against” because of their race.
Left-wing Obamanauts like Media Matters have tried to dismiss Coates as simply “a true member of the [right-wing, Bush] team” at DOJ, but that effort is so pathetic it’s almost humorous. As Hans Von Spakovsky, another former DOJ civil rights lawyer, has explained,
Given his liberal background and experience, you would think the ideologues now running the CRD would be happy with him. For many years, Coates was a staff attorney for the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. There, he filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of minority voters across the South under the Voting Rights Act in the 1970s and 1980s. The civil-rights establishment so admired his work that he received the Thurgood Marshall Decade Award from the Georgia NAACP in 1991 and the Environmental Justice Award from the Georgia Environmental Organization in 1994.
The Voting Section hired Coates as a career trial lawyer in 1996. Clinton DOJ officials promoted him before they left office. Perhaps unfortunately for Coates, the Bush administration also promoted him — to chief of the Voting Section. That may have tainted him in the eyes of über-liberals.
The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and its Voting Rights Section have become a cesspool of resistance to the idea that the government has a legal obligation to protect all its citizens from discrimination based on race.
There is, of course, nothing surprising about this, since civil rights groups and their like-minded colleagues (and often former employees) in government support preferential treatment based on race in school assignments, in college and professional school admissions, in employment … well, actually, everywhere. What is surprising these days is not yet another example of their repudiation of the principle that all Americans have a right to be treated by their governments without regard to race but that there are a few pockets remaining where that repudiation of colorblind equality has not (yet?) taken hold. To the best of my knowledge, for example, the IRS has not implemented race-based tax rates, although I hesitate to mention that oversight for fear that it will.
If Attorney General Holder will not clean house in his Civil Rights Division and staff it with people dedicated to enforcing the law in the race-neutral manner it was written, he should be impeached. But since he serves only at the pleasure of the president, he would not need to be impeached if our “post-racial” president were displeased with the racialist perversion of civil rights that is festering on his watch.
UPDATE [27 September]
See Jennifer Rubin’s excellent summary of Coates’s testimony, and its “game changer” significance.
UPDATE II [27 September]
Also see the thorough, and thoroughly documented, summary by Hans Bader.