Coates: Obama appointee told me to stop pursuing race-neutral enforcement of Voting Rights Act

posted at 10:18 am on September 24, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

PJTV is broadcasting the testimony of Christopher Coates to the Civil Rights Commission live this morning, but they already have his opening statement available in PDF format at Pajamas Media.  It contains at least one bombshell, which is that Obama appointee Loretta King ordered Coates to stop asking applicants whether they supported race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.  The question became necessary because of resistance in the Civil Rights division from career attorneys to enforce the law when it resulted in African-American defendants rather than victims, an attitude that Coates first encountered in the Bush era:

Opposition within the Voting Section was widespread to taking actions under the VRA on behalf of white voters in Noxubee County, MS, the jurisdiction in which Ike Brown was and is the Chairman of the local Democratic Executive Committee.  In 2003, white voters and candidates complained to the Voting Section that elections had been administered in a racially discriminatory manner and asked that federal observers be sent to the primary run-off elections.  Career attorneys in the Voting Section recommended that we not even go to Noxubee County for the primary run-off to do election coverage, but that opposition to going to Noxubee was overridden by the Bush Administration’s CRD Front Office.  I went on the coverage and while traveling to Mississippi, the Deputy Chief who was leading that election coverage asked me, “can you believe that we are going to Mississippi to protect white voters?”  What I observed on that election coverage was some of the most outrageous and blatant racially discriminatory behavior at the polls committed by Ike Brown and his allies that I have seen or had reported to me in my thirty-three plus years as a voting rights litigator.

Eventually, a judge agreed with Coates’ assessment after the Department of Justice won an injunction against Brown and the Democratic Executive Committee, which was held up on appeal.  That was the first time that the DoJ had pursued prosecution under the VRA against African-American defendants, and it rankled many within the CRD.  When Coates took over the division, he began asking in job interviews whether applicants could work on similar cases in the future, but got slapped down for it:

In the spring of 2009, Ms. King, who had by then been appointed Acting AAG for Civil Rights by the Obama Administration, called me to her office and specifically instructed me that I was not to ask any other applicants whether they would be willing to, in effect, race-neutrally enforce the VRA.  Ms. King took offense that I was asking such a question of job applicants and directed me not to ask it because she does not support equal enforcement of the provisions of the VRA and had been highly critical of the filing and prosecution of the Ike Brown case.

The American view of the rule of law is clear: laws are to be enforced equally on all people, and prosecutions should not be predicated on ethnicity or other biases.  The court ruled that Ike Brown broke the law.  If so, why wouldn’t Justice prosecute and enforce the VRA for all American citizens?

I will continue to read through Coates’ testimony and update the post as necessary, but this alone should create questions about the politicization of justice and at Justice in this administration.


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The point, I think, to take from this testimony isn’t so much to blame Obama.

It was happening during the Bush Admin.

The point is that the type of attorneys who tend to take these jobs and make careers of them, and then become supervisors, etc., tilt left. And, they don’t necessarily feel any need to follow the law or the direction of the administration elected.

Thus you have the State Department at war with the Bush Admin, and the CIA at war with the Bush admin, b/c unelected beauracrats believe they should be making all of the decisions.

With this particular division of DOJ, the indviduals seem to have felt freer to be more open about their disdain for the law with Obama and Holder, but it isn’t necessarily either of them to blame.

And, this is also one of the problems with a huge, overbearing gov’t. You get so many career beauracrats that nobody is really watching what they do, and they do whatever they want.

What we really need is a clean sweep of the federal civil service. We need to get rid of these life-long beauracrats who use their positions to pursue a far left agenda instead of doing their jobs, following the law, and obeying the orders and directives from the elected officials.

And, CRR6, it doesn’t matter if this happened under both Bush and Obama. It is coming to light now. These people should at the very least be fired. The law should be applied in a race-neutral fashion. How you don’t agree with that is troubling.

Monkeytoe on September 24, 2010 at 4:38 PM

And, CRR6, it doesn’t matter if this happened under both Bush and Obama. It is coming to light now. These people should at the very least be fired. The law should be applied in a race-neutral fashion. How you don’t agree with that is troubling.

Monkeytoe on September 24, 2010 at 4:38 PM

We should not be surprised by this kind of tripe any longer from liberals. It is clear that equal rights only apply to people they like. It is clear that they get to decide who is equal and who is not. The idea that such things are inalienable rights granted by our creator cannot possible be true because they do not believe in a creator. So they are the ones that decide because these elitist prats have deified themselves.

Hawthorne on September 24, 2010 at 4:47 PM

My guess is this is not what Holder had in mind about an honest debate on race.

petunia on September 24, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Same thing will happen with affirmative action – the time will come when “minorities” outnumber “whites”, so then whites should come under affirmative action then? Not so fast, affirmative action was for “minorities”, “not you, paleface.”

Saltyron on September 24, 2010 at 10:51 AM

I already live in a large city that is at least 80% minority, (mostly Hispanic). They don’t give a darn that I am Caucasian. Hispanics still get benefits and scholarships and business incentives that I will never get, despite being a minority for years and years. As far as I am concerned, I am discriminated against, even so, I do not sit around and moan and complain and file lawsuits. Maybe I should, but if what is going on at the Civil Rights Commission right now is any indication, my lawsuit would get nowhere.

Susanboo on September 24, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Holder has to go, but does anyone think he acted without Obzero’s blessing?

dogsoldier on September 24, 2010 at 5:04 PM

O’bama/Holder mouthpiece the Washington Post checks in-excerpt:

The Justice Department said in a statement that it had not authorized Coates’s testimony and that Coates, who has worked in the U.S. attorney’s office in South Carolina since January, is not “an appropriate witness to discuss the Civil Rights Division’s current enforcement policies.”

Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman, called the civil rights commission probe a “so-called investigation” that is “is thin on facts and evidence and thick on rhetoric.”

She said the department “makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved. We are committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of the federal laws that prohibit voter intimidation.”

And she added that the Obama administration has “changed” what internal watchdogs called a politicized atmosphere in the Civil Rights Division during the Bush administration.

“The politicization that occurred in the Civil Rights Division in the previous administration has been well documented by the [Justice Department] Inspector General, and it was a disgrace to the great history of the division.” Schmaler said. “We have reinvigorated the Civil Rights Division.”

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), who has criticized the Justice Department over its handling of the case, said he “strongly” supported Coates’s decision to testify and warned the department not to retaliate against him.

He said Coates had contacted him before his testimony “to share similar information relating to the equal enforcement of federal voting laws.” In a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., dated Thursday, Wolf said he assumes “that Mr. Coates will face no repercussions” for his decision to testify and that he expects Holder “to inform political and career supervisors to respect his decision.”

Some pretty brain dead comments at the WaPo article:

This is the most hilarious claptrap the right-wing has EVER come up with!!! Hooray for the right-wing!!!! Just when I thought they’re usual idiocy had become banal and annoying, they step forward with this! Two guys – two BLACK guys – part of some fringe group with a membership of, uh, two stand next to a voting booth in army fatigues, one of them with a billy club, and the poor whites (so little accustomed to ACTUAL voter intimidation) are scared, SCARED!!! (Yiiii), FRIGHTENED, FEARFUL!!!! (Woe is me …), SAD, don’t know what to do … HELP!!!! But, don’t worry, friends, Coates (who clearly has no agendy) will bring the malefactors (who scared and frightened and dismayed you and had you wetting you wetting your pants) to swift justice!!!! Hey, you think these are the guys who ACTUAllY murdered those civil rights workers back in the day – the Mississippi Burning guys? They seem so threatening – the two of them! Bring them to justice, Coates!!!!! Hooray for the right wing!!!!!
9/24/2010 5:06:06 PM

Del Dolemonte on September 24, 2010 at 5:28 PM

oh for cripes sakes, just went to wolfie’s situation room, big headline: talking with bill clinton’s doctors re: his diet plan and how he lost 24 lbs…

wow, nothing to see here, move along….

cmsinaz on September 24, 2010 at 5:30 PM

but that opposition to going to Noxubee was overridden by the Bush Administration’s CRD Front Office.

Am I misunderstanding, or is that saying that the Bush administration intervened to force the Voting Section to follow up on the problem in Noxubee?

blankminde on September 24, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Notice:

Not only was Shabazz let off for the voter intimidation, he was also a guest at the private residence of the WH:

http://biggovernment.com/abreitbart/2010/09/24/which-malik-shabazz-visited-white-house-in-july-2009-mr-president/

Apparently they needed Colbert to do some big time distracting for this Pandora’s Box to not be seen. Who sent him up there for real? Was it the WH? The DoJ? Somebody who was scared stiff the rest of this might get out.

Nixon in ’72 anyone?

UnderstandingisPower on September 24, 2010 at 6:35 PM

Affirmative Justice – You’re a racist if you are against it.
Social Justice – Your speech is hate speech if you’re for Equal Justice.
-
A bigot is someone who is winning a argument with a lefty.
-Chris Plante

KyserS on September 24, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Complete radio silence on this in the MSM. WaPo blogged it, and it’s about the 6th or 7th story down on Politico, below their Colbert headliner.

Rick Klein of ABC had tweents on O’Donnell, Tea Party cancellation, Colbert… I asked if he had any plans to mention Coats. His reply?

you mean Dan Coats? what about him?

COMPLETELY off his radar. I replied back, no CHRIS COATES (with an e) and linked to the WaPo blog coverage.

No reply.

Purple Fury on September 24, 2010 at 6:48 PM

Btw, to the extent that there is a little bit of coverage in the MSM, it’s being spun as a “story making the rounds in conservative circles”, and Coates is being cast as someone who is “reinforcing right-wing talking points”

Purple Fury on September 24, 2010 at 6:50 PM

ABC News Front Page:

http://abcnews.go.com/

Nothing.

But there’s an article mentioning that Sharon Angle’s under fire for her comments about autism!

Purple Fury on September 24, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Impeach Earl Holder!

Dhuka on September 24, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Holder should get twenty five to life. Put Barry in a cell next to him…..

adamsmith on September 24, 2010 at 7:25 PM

And, CRR6, it doesn’t matter if this happened under both Bush and Obama. It is coming to light now. These people should at the very least be fired. The law should be applied in a race-neutral fashion. How you don’t agree with that is troubling.

Monkeytoe on September 24, 2010 at 4:38 PM

This is what it all about folks, and don’t forget it. It is special interests of all sorts that have corrupted our government. By closely following the Constitution, limiting gonvernment power, we reduce the ability to influence policy on a National level.

riverrat10k on September 24, 2010 at 7:49 PM

In the Spring of 2009, Ms. King, who had by then been appointed Acting AAG for Civil Rights by the Obama Administration, called me to her office and specifically instructed me that I was not to ask any other applicants whether they would be willing to, in effect, race-neutrally enforce the VRA. Ms. King took offense that I was asking such a question of job applicants and directed me not to ask it because she does not support equal enforcement of the provisions of the VRA and had been highly critical of the filing and prosecution of the Ike Brown case.

here is the smoking gun proof of what we Conservatives have been saying about Democrats/Libtards/Leftists/Liberals/Socilaists/Progressives in general and the Obama misAdministration in particular….

…dare I say it?……

They Are RAAAACISSSTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CatchAll on September 24, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Trolling leftist losers are still losers. See ya in Novemeber, Chuckles!

Adjoran on September 24, 2010 at 8:22 PM

New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case: ‘Bombshell’ for Obama?
Voters of any race are now more convinced that justice is denied or selective. It seems a bad idea when the majority of ALL voters are not black to have a black President and AG seem to be against all the other races in this Nation. When the rule of law is no longer trusted history tells us all hell busts loose.

Col.John Wm. Reed on September 24, 2010 at 9:20 PM

And, CRR6, it doesn’t matter if this happened under both Bush and Obama. It is coming to light now. These people should at the very least be fired. The law should be applied in a race-neutral fashion. How you don’t agree with that is troubling.
CR is or is gonna be a” Lawyer” you expect truth from some shysters? Lawyers get paid to “Shade the facts” for the client.
A really good Lawyer will not touch some cases as the client is really bad. A legendary E Tenn lawyer was noted for not doing good law but for what tricks or deceit he could get his client off by. They used to make book in Knox County Court House not on the guilt or innocence of the client but how Racehorse would get em off. We think the bus is closing’ in on some of Holders folks, maybe Holder needs more family time. CR when you have no case rest it and go home.

Col.John Wm. Reed on September 24, 2010 at 9:36 PM

It has been evident from day one of the Obama administration that he is the president of everyone but white people and/or Republicans. They are out to get even with “whitey” for the past so anything goes: voter intimidation, reparations, etc.

silvernana on September 24, 2010 at 9:46 PM

So now the cat is out of the bag …
The next time Republicans need to suppress a bunch of white liberal voters, they just hire a bunch of Blacks to go over an harass them .. the DOJ won’t protect their sorry asses.
Republican wins .. Black unemployment goes down .. a win-win.

J_Crater on September 24, 2010 at 10:53 PM

Taxation without representation…

Political elites…

Redistribution of wealth…

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Is it just a matter of time? If our votes don’t count, election fraud is perpetuated/promoted by leaders on both sides… who could blame people who believe that we have come full circle back to 1775. I for one, am more and more convinced that this is so. Every single story like this that becomes public makes one wonder about the dozens, even hundreds that don’t. One has to wonder how many lives of hard working Americans of all colors have been ruined by such policies.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Unfortunately, this Jefferson quote has often been abused by people with wrong intentions. But, it seems more and more relevant today…

Anyone up for tarring & feathering some career politicians, “academic elites”, propagandizing journalist hacks?

It seems that the Sons of Liberty of the 1760s had it right… “no taxation without representation.”

If the common mantra from political commentators is that we can simply vote people out of office – yet close elections get reversed under suspicious circumstances (e.g. Norm Coleman -> Al Franken, among others), ACORN continues to get Federal $ to do what illegally register “voters” – then how can we have faith in any politician, or faith in our government to be fair? Is all we have left to take matters into our own hands?

Danny on September 25, 2010 at 1:17 AM

Danny on September 25, 2010 at 1:17 AM

Them’s banning words. My the trolls are out to play tonight.

alwaysfiredup on September 25, 2010 at 1:43 AM

The oppressed love their oppressors and cannot wait to follow in their example.

DFCtomm on September 25, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Question: When does “race neutral” become “racist”?

Stepan on September 25, 2010 at 7:27 AM

Please don’t lose sight of the perhaps even more egregious violation of Section 8 of the VRA. According to Coates’ testimony, many states have refused to update their voter lists for over two years, allowing names of dead people or those who moved to another state to stay current. Many states are in flagrant violation, and the DOJ refuses to force them into compliance. THIS is a travesty and an open invitation to commit voter fraud.

This facilitates voter fraud in a big way, particularly as it applies to absentee ballots. We know fraudulent voter registration is rampant (a la Acorn), and in some states this is the favored method, particularly in close races, to illegally “steal” elections. In a state like California, for example, I could easily have also registered my dog to vote, as there is little to no requirement for proof of identity at the polling place, I could have voted and, by absentee, so could my dog, Sophie, and her entire litter.

Imagine that, our signatures are the same! Getting an absentee ballot is a snap, they are sent along with the voter pamphlet.

marybel on September 25, 2010 at 9:21 AM

According to Coates’ testimony, many states have refused to update their voter lists for over two years, allowing names of dead people or those who moved to another state to stay current. Many states are in flagrant violation, and the DOJ refuses to force them into compliance. THIS is a travesty and an open invitation to commit voter fraud.

Saw it in action at the MN/WI border. College students were encouraged to vote in both states.

Fallon on September 25, 2010 at 9:35 AM

I already live in a large city that is at least 80% minority, (mostly Hispanic). They don’t give a darn that I am Caucasian. Hispanics still get benefits and scholarships and business incentives that I will never get, despite being a minority for years and years. As far as I am concerned, I am discriminated against, even so, I do not sit around and moan and complain and file lawsuits. Maybe I should, but if what is going on at the Civil Rights Commission right now is any indication, my lawsuit would get nowhere.

Susanboo on September 24, 2010 at 5:01 PM

I retired from a federal agency. Every spring we’d have a small business job fair. I hosted a couple of these. Without exception, people would walk up to me, hand me a card and pointedly tell me they were “woman” or minority owned. No whites need apply and they knew it. We had one contractor who started a small consulting firm. In order to get our contract (he was qualified to do the work), he had to put his business in his wife’s name so he could be minority owned. The government discriminates against white males. Like it or not, that’s the truth.

abcurtis on September 25, 2010 at 9:46 AM

marybel on September 25, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Fox has a story up (on website) about voting fraud in Houston during the 2008 election. A citizen watchdog group of 50 people saw numerous problems at the polling stations,got together, comb over the voter registrations and found (among other violations) that the guy who headed up Houston Votes & works for SEIU registered 25,000 people of which only 1735 were valid. Also 1597 registrations listed the same name with different signatures.

The group of people turned over their investigation to the election commission. The District Attorney & Texas State Secretary announced (Aug. 27, 2010) they opened an investigation and the NEXT day the voting machines were destroyed by a fire of undetermined cause. Houston (Harris County) is the 2nd largest in the country, with 1.9 million voters.

TN Mom on September 25, 2010 at 10:45 AM

TN Mom on September 25, 2010 at 10:45 AM

It was announced earlier this week that Lubbock is loaning some voting machines to Harris County. My first thought when I heard it was, I hope they’re insured.

If Lubbock County is loaning some of theirs, then I’m thinking other counties are doing likewise.

Someone in Houston apparently thinks these machines are too accurate for their liking, which gives me a little more confidence in them…

sloopy on September 25, 2010 at 12:11 PM

TN Mom on September 25, 2010 at 10:45 AM

The article you cited shows that the citizen group investigating found numerous instances of fraud – including the registration of non-citizens. Lots of people don’t think that happens all that much. When I was in Phoenix I saw activist registrars recruiting illegals and advising them to vote by mail (to avoid ID checks at the polls). I don’t know how many of them did, but any is too many.

sloopy on September 25, 2010 at 12:18 PM

This event is NOT getting enough attention! I searched the entire first section of the Denver Post this morning and found NOTHING at all about this. What are you all finding? How can we get this story out to Americans? What chance does restoring our country have when people have no information about something as serious as this?

francesca on September 25, 2010 at 4:32 PM

The article you cited shows that the citizen group investigating found numerous instances of fraud – including the registration of non-citizens. Lots of people don’t think that happens all that much. When I was in Phoenix I saw activist registrars recruiting illegals and advising them to vote by mail (to avoid ID checks at the polls). I don’t know how many of them did, but any is too many.

sloopy on September 25, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Pretty soon we’ll have to take matters into our own hands by dipping our index fingers in purple dye. I remember reading after the 2004 election, a group of progressives got together tons of money to elect Liberal Secretary of States (who certify elections). Looks like it paid off? Also, I’ve been reading local news reports in Tennessee of purging dead voters since the 2008 election; ten thousand here, ten thousand there.

TN Mom on September 25, 2010 at 9:02 PM

I am always amazed at how the dead vote electronically.With all the election static,I guess they have a really good ground.

Col.John Wm. Reed on September 25, 2010 at 9:39 PM

High time the federal government start downsizing.

I suggest they start at the DOJ.

SuperCool on September 25, 2010 at 11:16 PM

Eric Holder and his minions at the Department of Injustice are engaged in racist application of the law.
When agency policy is NOT TO PURSUE cases where whites are the victim, this is BLATANT racism on a systemic level.

Eric Holder is engaging in the BIGGEST SCAM of the Obama administration, and most of the major networks are not reporting it. No stories about this on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS or MSNBC. Zero.

Are these networks unaware of the BIGGEST SCAM? Or are they in collusion to suppress it?

Mark7788 on September 26, 2010 at 2:13 AM

I guess Eric Holder’s way of not being a coward regarding the race issue is to engage in reverse racism, against whites.

This is why his Injustice Department refused to pursue a case against the New Black Panthers where there was blatant voter intimidation against white.

Eric Holder = racist

Mark7788 on September 26, 2010 at 2:15 AM

Oh, and in case anyone forgot…

crr6 on September 24, 2010 at 12:03 PM

And why shouldn’t they be out to get Holder on this case? Holder had guilty pleas to the egregious behavior in hand and shut it down when all that remained was the sentencing. Given that Holder is a political appointee, he’s a legitimate target for this Administration when he does wrong.

unclesmrgol on September 26, 2010 at 6:22 AM

Are these networks unaware of the BIGGEST SCAM? Or are they in collusion to suppress it?

Mark7788 on September 26, 2010 at 2:13 AM

Was that a rhetorical question?

Merovign on September 26, 2010 at 12:13 PM

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