EDITORIAL: Special protection for Black Panthers--The Justice Dept is Institutionalizing Discrimination..
Racial cowardice, thy name is Eric Holder. For those who don't remember, Attorney General H. Holder Jr. had the gall last February to claim that Americans form "a nation of cowards" with regard to racial issues.
Saying that this nation must examine its "racial soul" and that "we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race," Mr. Holder explicitly vowed to "have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.
" In that same context, he also vowed repeatedly last year to "restore" the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to a supposedly renewed focus on protecting minority rights.
Yet Mr. Holder was far from explicit about exactly what he meant. Judging from the Civil Rights Division's actions - and now from a highly revealing speech by a newly exiled member of the division - it appears that the civil rights of blacks and Latinos will be protected but those of whites and Asians are treated as irrelevant. Far from having a "frank conversation" about that highly problematic change in policy, Mr. Holder's Justice Department instead is hiding the change behind bureaucratic smokescreens, spurious claims of legal "privileges" and outright gag orders.
Mr. Holder knows that his sea change in law enforcement would be highly unpopular if discussed openly - and would be subject to serious legal challenge if openly tested in a court of law. Hence his fear, his cowardice, on the issue.
"Eric Holder is a 'Black Racist' ."
The smoking gun is the department's refusal to fully sanction members of the New Black Panther Party who were charged with voter intimidation for brandishing a nightstick and using threatening racial language at a polling place during the 2008 presidential election.
In this case, Mr. Holder appeared to be undermining equal justice under the law by refusing to protect the civil rights of white voters. Now comes one of the key attorneys in that case to confirm that analysis.
The attorney in question, Christopher Coates, was transferred suddenly to South Carolina after the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights tried to subpoena his testimony with regard to the Black Panther case, which Mr. Coates helped oversee.
Mr. Coates is known to have objected to the Obama-Holder team's decision to drop three of the four charges and play softball on the fourth.
Mr. Coates ought to have great credibility because nobody can accuse him of being a conservative ideologue.
A former American Civil Liberties Union attorney who has won major awards from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Georgia Environmental Organization and the Justice Department itself, Mr. Coates has made a career of advocating for the rights of black Americans.
Yet when he tried to do the same for white voters (and some black ones, too) intimidated by the weapon-wielding Black Panthers, he was hounded, ordered to ignore a subpoena and ultimately exiled.
As reported by the Heritage Foundation's Hans A. von Spakovsky, writing at National Review Online, here's a close paraphrase of what Mr. Coates said to his colleagues at his going-away party: