You can't help but spend some time on Independence Day thinking about what really defines our revolution, and what defines us as a nation. We think it's our sense of justice.
Americans have an exquisite sense of justice, whether in sports, politics or business. We're free and we're fair and we don't tolerate for long those who try to bend our freedoms into special privileges and special deals. That's why the bailouts and the special deals to sell the health-care bill are costing a lot of politicians their jobs. Americans hate unfairness. Nothing infuriates us more.
And that's why the Justice Department may be the most important department within the executive. It's supposed to reflect what Americans feel about basic questions of what's right and what's wrong…things that we know in our gut. But right now our Justice Department is taking some serious gut shots against our sense of justice.
One of them is the federal lawsuit filed this week against the state of Arizona for its new immigration law. Most Americans think that Arizona's law is fair and necessary. An even more overwhelming majority of Arizonans feel the same. But the President and AG Eric Holder are taking the time, energy and money to sue Arizona, even though they didn't use enough time, energy and money to help Arizona in dealing with illegal immigration.
The other case we've been watching is the inexplicable dropping of the case against the Black Panthers who intimidated voters in 2008. This was one of the most blatant attempts at voter intimidation since the 1950s, only this time it was black intimidation against white voters. It happened on Election Day 2008, when a group of Black Panthers in military-style uniforms -- one yielding a night stick -- stood in front of a voting booth, intimidating white voters.
The Bush administration started the case against the Panthers, but the Obama Justice Department dropped the case after making a bogus deal in which charges were dismissed on the condition that one of the Black Panther's charged agreed not to carry a deadly weapon near a polling place until the year 2012. A career Justice official resigned over the Obama administration's actions and this week testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about the case. Six other Justice Department employees also favored pursuing the case.
This is an outrage that has offended the sensibilities of life-long crusaders for civil rights, like author Bartle Bull, who witnessed the Panther offenses as a poll watcher and appeared on Scoreboard this week. And it’s an affront to the sense of justice that Americans hold dear.
Americans’ sense of judgment cannot be offended without consequences. And we suspect the reverberations from what’s going on in the Justice Department will reverberate among the electorate far beyond the midterm elections of 2010.