What's going on at the Department of Justice (DOJ)?
On election day in November 2008, some members of the New Black Panthers took it upon themselves to provide "security" to a Philadelphia polling place.
The New Black Panthers took their self appointed job seriously. Way to seriously.
By eyewitness and video tape accounts, they dressed in paramilitary gear, waved nightsticks at voters and engaged in racial epithets at white voters like the following: "Cracker, you about to be ruled by a black man. "
Soon after, the DOJ brought a Civil Rights suit against the Panthers as a group and each person who engaged in voter intimidation on election day.
After the DOJ filed the suit, the New Black Panthers did not even bother to file an Answer to the Complaint.
They defaulted. The DOJ won the lawsuit.
So far so good right?
Just as the DOJ was deciding what penalties to seek against the New Black Panther Party, Obama's new appointments to the DOJ stepped in and said not only are we not going to seek sanctions against the New Black Panthers, we are dismissing the original lawsuit which we already won.
There is definite tension between the career staffers at the DOJ and the recent Obama political appointments who supervise the staff. (Today's Washington Times has a great article on this story.)
Please don't tell me voter intimidation did not take place. Lets see: in Florida in 2000, police check points a mile from a polling place was deemed by some to be voter intimidation. In Indiana merely requiring official government identification cards was alleged to be voter intimidation. So therefore, don't tell me waving a nightstick at voters like you are the head cheerleader during homecoming week is not voter intimidation.
The decision has Congressman Frank Wolf asking, "If showing a weapon, making threatening statements and wearing paramilitary uniforms in front of polling station doors does not constitute voter intimidation, at what threshold of activity would these laws be enforceable?"
Wolf isn't crying wolf.