Janet M. LaRue

Imagine the Ku Klux Klan in full regalia standing before a polling place deep in Dixieland hurling racial insults at black people arriving to vote in the last election. Imagine further a Republican-run U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) dropping the civil complaint against the KKK that had been filed by a Democrat-run DOJ.

Unless you've dropped acid, your fantasy life probably can't get you there.

Try reality.

The Obama DOJ has admitted dropping a civil complaint filed by the Bush DOJ on Jan. 7, 2009, accusing members of the New Black Panther Party of "wearing black berets, black combat boots, black dress shirts and black jackets with military-style markings, brandishing a 2-foot-long nightstick and issuing racial threats and racial insults" at voters in Philadelphia, during November's election," according to an exclusive in The Washington Times on July 30. Members of Congress want to know why.

Fox News ran a story with an eyewitness at the scene on Nov. 4. The Bush DOJ had sought an injunction against the Panthers to prevent further violations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act:

Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were deployed at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling location wearing the uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and that Samir Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style baton weapon.

[P]arty Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz confirmed that the placement of Samir Shabazz and Jackson in Philadelphia was part of a nationwide effort to deploy New Black Panther Party members at polling locations on Election Day.

The Department seeks an injunction preventing any future deployment of, or display of weapons by, New Black Panther Party members at the entrance to polling locations.

Eric Holder, the newly appointed Attorney General of the United States, told the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs on June 17: "We will not tolerate murder, or the threat of violence, masquerading as political activism," according to Devlin Barrett writing for Breaking News 24/7. "So let me be clear. The Justice Department will use every tool at its disposal to protect the rights ensured under our Constitution."

The DOJ Web site states: "If you know of activities that intimidate, coerce, threaten, or oppress voters based on race, color, religion, or national origin, please contact the Criminal Section." Holder needs to explain why its "Criminal Section" isn't prosecuting the Panthers on felony charges of violating 18 U.S.C. § 245. Section 245 states:


Janet M. LaRue

Jan LaRue is Senior Legal Analyst with the American Civil Rights Union; former Chief Counsel at Concerned for Women; Legal Studies Director at Family Research Council; and Senior Counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families. Be the first to read Janet LaRue's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.