Obama Justice Department Balks on Black Panther Papers

In a strange legal development in Washington last week, the Obama Justice Department refused to turn over most of the documents sought by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in its probe of why a civil complaint was dismissed against members of the New Black Panther Party for disruption at a Philadelphia polling place in November ’06.

Justice’s 38-page response, which was obtained by the Washington Times, maintained that the requested documents were protected by attorney-client privilege or were not subject to disclosure because they included attorney or law enforcement work product. The amazing response also made the argument that the subpoenas violated existing executive orders, privacy and privilege concerns, and were burdensome, vague, and ambiguous.

The Civil Rights Commission has been trying to obtain the records related to the dismissal of the case and issued the subpoenas only on December 9 after repeated written requests resulted in what Commission General Counsel David Blackwood dubbed “a dearth of cooperation” from the Justice Department.