The acquittal by a six-member Florida jury on July 13 in the trial of George Zimmerman for second-degree murder, with an option to convict for manslaughter, at least among rational people, produced relief and apprehension - relief because Zimmerman wouldn't be headed to state prison; apprehension because the verdict likely would be a prelude to a federal probe. The latter is now underway. Attorney General Eric Holder, with the tacit approval of President Obama, has launched a campaign to delegitimize and overturn the verdict on the belief that Zimmerman, a mixed-race Hispanic and a Neighborhood Watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., wantonly shot a black teenager, Trayvon Martin, to death, and with racial intent.
Thomas Perez embodies ethnic identity radicalism. Whether the U.S. Senate has the courage to challenge him is yet unknown. President Obama today nominated Perez for Secretary of Labor. As the Department of Justice's assistant attorney general for civil rights since October 2009, Perez has promoted a hard-charging egalitarianism that goes even beyond that of first-term Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who resigned in January. His "Third World First, America Last" worldview comes with hefty baggage. He's persuaded the Justice Department to dismiss its case against Black Panther members accused of menacing white voters and poll watchers in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008.
The transformation of the American economy and polity into a racial spoils system has been a defining goal of President Obama's first term in office. It is set to become more defining in his second term, especially in light of a federal appeals court ruling two weeks ago. Obama, by various accounts, wants to be more aggressive about suing banks, employers, schools and other institutions whose practices, however unintentionally, adversely affect "disadvantaged" (read: nonwhite) populations. This is the doctrine of "disparate impact."
Obtaining mortgage aid by claiming "discrimination" has become a high art. The problem is that someone always has to pay. Just ask Wells Fargo & Co. On July 12, the San Francisco-based bank, the nation's largest mortgage originator, agreed to spend $175 million to settle accusations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that for several years it steered black and Hispanic homebuyers toward high-cost loans, so it could charge excessive interest and fees. The agreement, in which Wells Fargo admitted no wrongdoing, ostensibly will defray borrower losses and expand homeownership opportunities in lower-income areas.
This past weekend saw further escalation of nationwide demonstrations over the fatal February 26 shooting of a black Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin, by a white neighborhood watch volunteer. Though in apparent self-defense, many are demanding the shooter, George Zimmerman, be arrested. In lieu of such action, some are vowing to apply their brand of street justice. Unfortunately, they have an ally in President Obama.
Ethics groups are wondering whether the U.S. Department of Justice has become skittish when it comes to investigating members of Congress, after numerous congressional corruption investigations were closed without trial last year, reported the New York Times.
Since the department's case against the late Rep. Ted Stevens (R-AK) notoriously fell apart two years ago, officials have halted at least five other corruption investigations against high-profile congressmen, including Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV), in photo.
If Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Solicitor M. Patricia Smith are pushing the limits of radical advocacy, Leon Rodriguez might just be the person to push them further. Rodriguez, for nearly a year the chief of staff at the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, is President Obama's presumptive nominee for administrator of DOL's Wage and Hour Division. The president announced on December 2 his intent to name him to the long-vacant post. But like the previous (unsuccessful) nominee, Lorelei Boylan, Rodriguez, an experienced prosecutor, has an expressed belief that what counts is equality of result, not equality under the law - even if employers have to pay the toll. If Obama is genuine about his recently stated desire to promote business development, he should find another candidate.
If black farmers claiming racial discrimination can walk off with a large bundle of money - and with a promise of more to come - Hispanic farmers possessed of similar grievances don't see why they can't enjoy the same benefits. It appears as if they've guessed correctly. On May 26, the Justice Department offered up to $1.33 billion to settle a class-action suit filed by a group of Hispanic farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) alleging ethnic discrimination in various programs. The settlement figure incorporates a sum sought in a separate suit by female farmers. As with the black-farmer actions, the claims are at best specious. Yet the lead plaintiffs' attorney is denouncing the offer as a pittance.
The scandal-ridden Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, needs money. And more than ever it's counting on the federal government to deliver it. A December 11 ruling by a federal judge in New York overturning a funding ban in the current budget may well reopen the floodgates. Ironically, it's the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that stands in the way. On December 16, the department filed a memorandum opposing the New Orleans-based nationwide radical nonprofit "anti-poverty" network's claim that it had been unjustly singled out for a funding cutoff for Fiscal Year 2010. In other words, the government, for a change, was protecting taxpayer interests. Whether those interests prevail in court depends on interpretations of the Constitution's ban on bills of attainder and its protection of due process and freedom of association.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, more commonly known as ACORN, has earned its notoriety. The New Orleans-based far-Left nonprofit network has been implicated in embezzlement, tax evasion, voter registration fraud and other criminal activity. In response, Congress, the Census Bureau and the IRS each have decided to cut off ACORN funding. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) may or may not join them, but an audit issued this month by its Office of Inspector General isn't likely to help the group's case.