The Justice Department has denied that political motivations went into the dismissal of the New Black Panthers case following President Barack Obama elections and the appointment of Attorney General Eric Holder.
A Federal court in Washington, D.C. on Monday dismissed the DOJ’s claims that its political appointees did not interfere with the New Black Panthers case.
In a case that decided whether the watchdog group, Judicial Watch, could receive fees and costs associated with the New Black Panthers litigation, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton held that:
“documents reveal that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims in that case, which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision.”
“Surely the public has an interest in documents that cast doubt on the accuracy of government officials’ representations regarding the possible politicization of agency decision making,” Walton wrote in his opinion. “And the DOJ has not shown that these particular materials were released prior to this litigation, or that the information contained therein was already in the public domain.”
The New Black Panthers case revolves around members of the racist group who were caught on tape intimidating voters at a polling station during the 2008 elections in Philadelphia. The Justice Department initially charged the four New Black Panthers in the case. But after Obama shaped the Justice Department with his appointees, the Justice Department reversed course, dismissing the charges against three of the New Black Panthers while a fourth received a restraining order.
Judge Walton’s decision again shows that politics have often trumped the law in the Obama administration.