It’s Abigail Thernstrom, who, as far as I know, is a well-respected scholar and sufficiently credible to be worthy of publication by the Manhattan Institute and National Review, among others. In fact, her last piece for NR warned conservatives that the Black Panthers case that Fox has been obsessing over is a silly bit of one-off nonsense with no larger significance for how the DOJ is prosecuting voting rights cases. (That’s not what J. Christian Adams says, of course.) What she didn’t claim in that piece is that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which has been investigating Adams’s allegations and of which she’s the vice chair, might have a political agenda of its own in pushing this inquiry.
But she’s claiming it now.
“This doesn’t have to do with the Black Panthers, this has to do with their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama] administration,” said Thernstrom, who said members of the commission voiced their political aims “in the initial discussions” of the Panther case last year.
“My fellow conservatives on the commission had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president,” Thernstrom said in an interview with POLITICO.
There’s nothing here to suggest that they don’t believe Adams’s claims on the merits, but any investigation that begins with a particular outcome in mind is obviously suspect. Pushback from her fellow committee members:
“Millions of people saw the clip on Fox News and YouTube,” said Todd Gaziano, a commissioner who has been the driving force behind the commission’s investigation. “Any reasonable American knows this is voter intimidation. And so the dismissal itself of an infamous case where there’s footage is more damaging to people’s perception of the rule of law than a dismissal when nobody’s paying attention.”
The commission chairman, Gerald Reynolds, said Thernstrom is attacking the commission out of pique dating back to a dispute about organizing a conference scheduled for this fall. “The allegation that there’s any interest in bringing down the Obama Administration is false – and it’s a lot more, it’s personal and petty.”
Really? Thernstrom cooked up a bombshell allegation about bias on the Commission (which, according to Politico, is nothing new under either Republican or Democratic administrations) out of simple pique about a conference? Given the scrutiny she’s going to get for making this accusation, I’m skeptical about that.
Exit question: How do we resolve this going forward? The DOJ’s civil-rights division and the Commission on Civil Rights now each have their integrity being questioned by people employed there currently or formerly. Time for a special prosecutor to resolve the facts, perhaps?
Update: At the very least, since Fox now owns this story, will Megyn Kelly have Thernstrom on next week?