Former DOJ Lawyer: Obama and Holder Endanger Criminal Justice System

Former DOJ Lawyer: Obama and Holder Endanger Criminal Justice System

Hans von Spakovsky, writing in The National Interest, makes a powerful case that Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have endangered the criminal justice system in their response to the Ferguson grand jury’s verdict. 

Spakovsky writes, “Perhaps the biggest problem with the reaction of President Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, to the grand jury verdict in Ferguson is their non-support for the difficult work of the grand jury. That and their support for the mistaken proposition that the administration of justice is unfair, biased, and prejudiced towards ‘communities of color’ undermine our criminal justice system.”

Spakovsky notes that on November 25, Obama refused to compliment the grand jury for their courage in handing down a verdict sure to be incendiary among those who foment mob violence, threats, and media scapegoating, instead stating the “grand jury made a decision yesterday that upset a lot of people.” Spakovsky suggests that Obama could have taken the opposite tack, to point out the equity of the American justice system and said that the jury’s decision “should be respected, not just ‘accepted.'”

Quoting Quin Hillyer, the author writes that Obama should have asserted that “this jury’s exhaustive weighing of the evidence was admirable,” as well as “the copious evidence that utterly disproved some of the earliest accounts of the shooting and had proved that there was some sort of confrontation within the police car itself.”

But Obama refused to acknowledge any of the preceding, playing the race card instead. He defended the motivations for those enraged by the grand jury verdict by saying the feelings “have deep roots in many communities of color who have a sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly. That may not be true everywhere… but that’s an impression that folks have and it’s not just made up. It’s rooted in realities that have existed in this country for a long time.”

Spakovsky argues that the “frustration” of those who are angry about the verdict stems from something that Obama, Al Sharpton, and other civil rights activists are loath to admit: “the unfortunate and tragic fact that the main reason so many more black Americans, particularly young black males, are caught up in the criminal justice system is because they commit far more crimes, particularly violent crimes, than anyone else.”

Spakovsky nails Eric Holder, who tacitly undermined the grand jury verdict on November 24, only acknowledging it had “concluded,” while insisting the DOJ’s “independent” investigation “remains ongoing” and that “even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence.” Spakovsky writes “…the continued implication that law enforcement officers nationwide cannot be trusted by all Americans and that many are treated unfairly because of their race damages our justice system.”

Spakovsky points out that Holder’s announcement that the DOJ plans to issue new standards for racial profiling supports the narrative that Ferguson occurred because of racial profiling, as well as ignoring the fact that the Bush administration “already banned racial and ethnic profiling in 2003 when the Civil Rights Division issued such guidance for all federal law enforcement officials. It said that ‘racial profiling is wrong and will not be tolerated.'”

The article concludes bluntly, “The undermining of our faith in the criminal justice system by the president, the attorney general, and many others has long-term, negative consequences that will only deepen the racial divide.”


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