There needs to be a housecleaning at the very troubled Justice Department, and the top echelons of the Civil Rights Division is the right place to start. Its division chief - a presidential appointee - and its highly politicized senior career employees promote liberal ideology more than they enforce the law.
The latest imbroglio concerns two of the division’s top career lawyers, the ones whom the Obama team chose to run the division until controversial nominees Thomas Perrelli and Thomas Perez could be confirmed. The two officials, Loretta King and Steven H. Rosenbaum, were heavily involved (along with Mr. Perrelli) in dropping an already-won voter-intimidation case against several members of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia, and both were responsible for other, questionable race-based decisions. On Dec. 30, a federal district court in Kansas sanctioned them for misconduct.
The misconduct involved a failure to be “fully responsive” to earlier court filings. Significantly, the judge - himself a liberal who formerly served as counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union - held the Justice Departmentattorneys personally and “solely responsible for paying the monetary sanctions.”
As the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky pointed out in December, this is at least the second such sanction earned by Ms. King. In a 1994 case in Georgia, he wrote, “The American taxpayer was forced to pay $587,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs that were awarded to the defendants to compensate them for an unwarranted lawsuit, one in which King and the other Justice Department lawyers ‘commanded’ the state of Georgia, as the Supreme Court noted, to engage in ‘presumptively unconstitutional race-based districting.’ ” Federal courts found the conduct of Ms. King’s team “disturbing,” an “embarrassment,” and “surprising[ly] … blind to [its own] impropriety.”
This is the same Loretta King who made the decision to disallow a nonpartisan form of local elections that voters themselves had chosen - effectively telling black citizens of Kinston, N.C., that they are too stupid to choose their own elected officials unless the candidates are identified by party label. And it is the same Steve Rosenbaum who argued that firefighters in New Haven, Conn., could be denied promotions just because they were white, and who took what a federal appeals court called an “untenable” position in intervening in a 1995 case on behalf of the now-infamous ACORN community-agitating organization.
Rep. Frank Wolf, the Northern Virginia Republican who has energetically questioned the Justice Department about the Black Panther case, responded to the report of the newest sanctions against department lawyers. “This revelation,” he said, “further calls into question the judgment of those responsible for the inexplicable dismissal of U.S. vs. New Black Panther Party. The pattern of withholding information is troubling - especially in light of the office’s refusal to cooperate with congressional inquiries and subpoenas from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.”
Indications are that these scandals will continue to grow. The only way for the Justice Department to stop the bleeding is for Obama officials to admit fault, reconsider its Black Panther decision and find officials who will enforce all civil rights laws without favoritism for one race over any other.