This column by ACRU Policy Board Member and former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams was published November 13, 2014 on PJ Media.
The nomination of Loretta Lynch to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general is a deft political decision by President Obama. Lynch’s nomination satisfies the racial interest groups yet doesn’t carry the toxic record that other possible nominees carried. Al Sharpton promised he would play a role in selecting Holder’s successor, and it appears he did.
Lynch promises to be Eric Holder’s sequel, particularly when it comes to federal enforcement of civil rights laws. What she provides the White House is a clean slate. She provides the false promise of luring some Republicans into thinking the Justice Department may improve once Holder is gone.
That hope ignores the fact that Holder, while lawless as can be, was the symptom of an institutional problem when progressives wield power at the most powerful federal department. Holder may go, but hundreds who think just like him will still be managing affairs — from the top political appointees to the lowest (and newly hired) line attorney. Lynch will arrive to oversee a transformed culture at the Department of Justice. And that’s just the beginning.
But first, it’s worth noting one good thing about Lynch. She is coming from a United States attorney’s office. Justice Department offices outside of Washington, D.C., are often reservoirs of professionalism compared to the progressive stranglehold the left has on Main Justice in Washington. In fact, the Eastern District of New York is one of the more important districts in the nation, and Lynch will bring her experience managing career professionals rather than swarms of progressive crusaders who populate Main Justice.
Of course not every U.S. attorney’s office is pure, but generally speaking, Lynch’s most beneficial qualification is being an outsider in an era where the DOJ insiders have turned the department into a plaything to appease the most extreme elements of the Democratic Party. Her experience as a two-time U.S. attorney is the one bright spot in her nomination.
That’s where the good news about Lynch ends.
Most notably, she seems to be a devotee of the fable that Jim Crow is coming back, and that laws designed to ensure election integrity are really a plot to disenfranchise minorities. She specifically attacked voter identification laws. She called them an effort “to take back” what Martin Luther King had won.
Opposition to voter ID is designed to scare minority voters and help Democrats win turnout wars.
Her misplaced opposition to voter ID portends a broader problem. The department under Holder has undertaken racially selective law enforcement. While DOJ officials bluster about criminal civil rights cases that never happen, such as against George Zimmerman and in Ferguson, they brazenly refuse to prosecute civil rights cases when white victims are subject to racially motivated violence. Incident after incident after incident has occurred in the last few years, and Matt Drudge routinely catalogs them at the Drudge Report.
A single prosecution of these cases, nay, even an investigation, would deflate Holder’s critics, myself included. But these cases have not been prosecuted under Holder because the prosecutors oppose using civil rights laws to protect white victims of hate crimes. Holder even said so himself in congressional testimony — saying that hate crime laws are designed to protect traditional racial minorities.
That’s code for, if you aren’t one of “his people” the law won’t protect you. This is an issue that affects real Americans and the safety of real families. Instead of flinching, senators should push.
Will Lynch commit to keeping quiet about DOJ investigations, or will she stoke racial division, as Eric Holder did in Ferguson?
The Senate should bore into Lynch’s views on the same, and hard. There are plenty of skilled questioners on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Armed with the list of racially motivated attacks over the last few years, they should extract a commitment from her that she will break with Holder’s racially selective law enforcement.
Exhibit One can be the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department Civil Rights Division which documents the pervasive opposition at all levels to racially neutral enforcement of civil rights laws. Ask Lynch if she will implement the changes to hiring practices that former Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez refused to implement — namely hiring people other than ideological progressives to serve as lawyers.
Senators might also ask Lynch if she thinks blacks are less sophisticated voters than whites. After all, that’s what a paid Justice Department expert testified to in the attack on Texas voter identification laws. Does Lynch think it is appropriate for hundreds of thousands of dollars to line the pockets of hired DOJ experts who espouse such segregationist-style nonsense?
Senators might also ask Lynch if she has the spine to tell a president that he can’t simply suspend immigration laws by fiat. Or, does she believe he can?
Will Lynch’s on-the-ground understanding of the threats of Islamic terror in New York cause her to reassess the department’s queer biases? For example, will the department continue to employ lawyers in sensitive national security positions advising on terror policy when they represented Islamic terrorists at GITMO before coming to DOJ?
Some might rejoice at Holder’s departure, assuming a clean slate means a new approach. Beware. The Justice Department has suffered the same type of fundamental transformation the president promised for the country. Without stiff and sophisticated congressional oversight, Lynch may be Eric Holder 2.0.