Adams' case falls apart even further

Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Race-baiting has been a central element to the phony New Black Panthers scandal from the start, despite the fact that right-wing activist J. Christian Adams' accusations do not stand up to the evidence. But court filings earlier this week, in which the Obama Justice Department is asking a federal court to extend its injunction against black leaders in Mississippi for discriminating against white voters, should end once and for all the scurrilous accusation that the Obama administration is hostile to prosecuting black defendants on behalf of white victims.

In 2007, a federal court found that Ike Brown, the black chairman of the Noxubee (Mississippi) County Democratic Executive Committee, had engaged in systematic discrimination against white voters and appointed Judge Reuben Anderson to oversee Democratic primaries and runoffs though 2011. The Associated Press called the case "the first of its kind in the country, accusing black political leaders of discriminating against white voters." Earlier this week, the Obama Justice Department filed a motion to prevent Brown from establishing a closed Democratic Primary that the DOJ argued would discriminate against white voters. The Justice Department asked the court to extend its 2007 injunction for two years and to ensure that Brown could not seek to implement voting changes during that time. The DOJ's actions in the Noxubee case further destroys the accusation leveled by right-wing activists that the Obama Justice Department is engaging in race-based justice.

Incredibly, J. Christian Adams and The Washington Times present the DOJ's handling of the case as further evidence of its hostility toward white victims. In a July 13 Pajamas Media post, Adams wrote that "the Department of Justice blew an opportunity to put to rest the issue of whether they are willing to enforce the Voting Rights Act in a race-neutral fashion by objecting to a request by a proven discriminator to further discriminate." Adams said that the Justice Department's handling of the case showed that "they do not want whites and Asians, when they are the discriminated-against minority, to be protected under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act." According to The Washington Times, the Obama Justice Department "did not object" to Brown's request and "issued a 'no determination' letter that ... effectively leaves the issue open for another day."

Brown has been enjoined from administering and manipulating elections since 2007, when a federal judge issued an opinion that he and the Noxubee County Executive Committee violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by discriminating against white voters in a largely black district in Mississippi. An August 28, 2007, Associated Press article reported:

The removal of Ike Brown as chairman of the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee came Monday in an order issued by U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee.

Lee's order satisfied his June 29 opinion that black political leaders in Noxubee County violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by discriminating against white voters.

The U.S. Department of Justice brought the federal lawsuit, the first of its kind in the country, accusing black political leaders of discriminating against white voters in the majority black county.

"This is an important victory for all the voters of Noxubee County," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Wan Kim, who announced his resignation Aug. 24. "The court's ruling helps to reform an unlawful system by placing management of the elections in the hands of an impartial and respected referee-administrator."

In his 13-page ruling, Lee permanently prohibited Brown, who is black, along with the mostly black Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee that he heads and their agents, employees, contractors, successors, and all other persons representing them from:

Imposing qualifications or a prerequisite to voting or "applying any standard, practice, or procedure" that would deny or abridge, based on race or color, a citizen's right to vote.

Maintaining an electoral system or election-related infrastructure that "is not equally open to participation by members of a class of citizens" that would prohibit them from participating in the political process or electing "representatives of their choice."

Lee appointed former state Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson, the first black to serve on the court, as superintendent of elections for all Democratic primaries and runoffs through Nov. 20, 2011. Both the Justice Department and attorneys for Brown and the county Democratic Executive Committee had earlier agreed on Anderson's appointment.

Based upon Lee's order, Anderson will assume all electoral duties of the chairman of the executive committee and its members. He will certify candidates, appoint and assign poll workers and officials, distribute regular ballots and ballot boxes containing absentee ballots, supervise polling locations and officials and certify election results.

But earlier this year, the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee, chaired by Brown, submitted a request (accessed via PACER) under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to create a closed Democratic primary. In a July 12 letter (accessed via PACER), T. Christian Herren, chief of the DOJ's voting section, responded to that request and wrote that "it would be inappropriate for the Attorney General to make a determination concerning your submission." In his "no determination" letter, Herren cited the court's 2007 court order and wrote that "the Referee-Administrator, and not the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee, is the only the [sic] proper submitting official under Section 5 for any proposed voting change in Democratic Party primary elections in Noxubee County during the term of the Remedial Order." The Justice Department also filed a motion to extend the 2007 injunction against Brown and the Noxubee County Democratic Party for an additional two years, citing Brown's and the Noxubee Democratic Party's efforts to "dictate the terms of electoral qualifications," which "violated the Remedial Order." The Justice Department asked the court to prohibit Brown from moving forward with plans to create a closed primary, to prohibit Brown from making any future official filings seeking to change the electoral process, and to extend the 2007 order an additional 2 years.

In seeking additional penalties against Brown, the Justice Department explicitly cited the potential harm to white voters:

The current effort by the Defendants is a part of the same pattern of behavior described by the Court in its liability opinion, in which Mr. Brown was seen to combine partisan motives with underlying racial motives. In the liability opinion, the Court noted that the list of 174 voters Mr. Brown threatened to challenge on party loyalty grounds included only white voters, despite the presence of black voters who met the terms of his party loyalty standard. Brown, 494 F. Supp. 2d at 476. These facts established that Mr. Brown's actions were motivated in part by racial concerns.

In the present situation, the facts show that, as Mr. Brown explained to Mr. Boyd, the February 1, 2008 cut-off date for his new loyalty standard was chosen in order to ensure that it would not unfavorably impact a black Democrat, Noxubee County Justice Court Judge Dirk Dickson, who voted in the 2007 Republican primary. These facts again suggest that Mr. Brown is motivated, at least in part, by racial concerns. This conclusion is bolstered by Mr. Brown's prior history of using a party loyalty standard to reduce white voter participation in Noxubee County Democratic Party primaries, while at the same time not applying a party loyalty standard to similarly situated black voters. Mr. Brown's interest in executing a party loyalty campaign in this way is similar to his 2003 attempt to enforce a party loyalty standard. In 2003, Mr. Brown personally knew that a black Democrat, Shuqualak Mayor Velma Jenkins, publicly supported a Republican candidate, yet he did not include her in the list of 174 white voters whom he threatened to challenge on party loyalty grounds. (Trial Tr. 2475-76.) Indeed, after Mr. Brown learned that Mayor Jenkins was supporting Republican Congressman Chip Pickering, he did not withdraw his support for her for Mayor of Shuqualak. Id.

The United States therefore respectfully requests that the Court enjoin the Defendants from making any attempt to enforce the provisions of their "Motion to close Democratic Primary.

Yet Adams cites the case as evidence of the DOJ "is trying to dodge the central issue of whether they will use Section 5 to protect a white victim" and claims that the DOJ's motion to prevent Ike Brown from submitting requests to the Justice Department is a "shamefully transparent" way to ensure that "the DOJ won't have to take the side of the white victims."

At this point the DOJ under the Obama administration has successfully obtained default judgment against Samir Shabazz, a member of the New Black Panther Party who carried a weapon outside a polling station on Election Day 2008, and has requested additional judgment against black leaders in Mississippi who were found to have discriminated against white voters. There is simply no justifiable reason to present these accusations as anything more than race baiting.

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