The Obama Justice Department has dismissed a voter-intimidation lawsuit against members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. This suit was brought under the Voting Rights Act and alleged that:
…on Election Day, Nov. 4, 2008 in Philadelphia, NBPPSD members Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were stationed at the entrance to a polling location at 1221 Fairmount Avenue, wearing the uniform of the organization. It also states Mr. Shabazz repeatedly brandished a “police-style baton weapon.”
The complaint said NBPPSD Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz confirmed that the placement of Messrs. Shabazz and Jackson was part of a nationwide effort to deploy NBPPSD members at polling locations on Election Day. The Justice Department sought an injunction to prevent any similar future actions by NBPPSD members at polling locations.
“Intimidation outside of a polling place is contrary to the democratic process,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Grace Chung Becker at the time. “The Department takes allegations of voter intimidation seriously.”
I recall seeing news video of this incident at the time it happened. So, why was the suit dismissed? Does the Justice Department under Eric Holder not believe that attempts to intimidate voters are worth pursuing? Would these suits have been dismissed if the alleged intimidators had been White members of Aryan Nation attempting to discourage Obama voters, rather than African-American radicals and a local Democratic committee member intimidating White voters?
This is one of those incidents that genuinely calls for congressional investigation: Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department should have to explain publicly why obvious attempts to interfere with the voting rights of Philadelphia residents are not being prosecuted. Perhaps there was a legitimate reason for dropping the suit, but the public deserves to hear it.
But, in Chicago-on-the-Potomac, I wouldn’t bet on it.
LINKS: Ed Morrissey asks "Who put pressure on Justice?"
UPDATE: Perhaps I was wrong about that congressional investigation. There may be a spark of hope, yet.
UPDATE II: Oh, so that explains it. Congress! Investigate!