Monday, March 26, 2007

Obama and the DOJ

In an item first reported at Liestoppers, ABC News Law & Justice Unit has confirmed that Illinois senator Barack Obama has joined the chorus of lawmakers demanding a Justice Department inquiry into Mike Nifong’s misconduct. The story subsequently has been picked up by the AP and by Drudge, and represents the most media attention to the issue since North Carolina congressman Walter Jones became the first Member of Congress to issue such a plea in December.

The Democratic presidential candidate is the first member of the Senate to publicly endorse such a call. As a former adjunct at the University of Chicago Law School, he has impeccable legal credentials. And as a man with a strong following in the African-American community, he has impeccable political credentials to issue such a plea.

The Law & Justice Unit also reports that at least two more members of the House, Representatives Trent Franks (R-Arizona) and Tom Feeney (R-Florida) have also called on the Justice department to do something. They join Long Island Democrat Carolyn McCarthy and New York Republican Peter King. Durham congressman David (“States’ Rights Democrat”) Price is the only member of the House to explicitly oppose a DOJ inquiry.

Nifong attorney David Freedman played the States’ Rights card in responding to Obama’s recommendation: “The state bar is conducting a very thorough investigation into all aspects of Mr. Nifong's handling of the case. It's appropriate for this to be dealt with by a North Carolina agency, not by someone from another state. I do not see the need for any other agency becoming involved at this point.”

But, as Freedman is well aware, the State Bar’s inquiry deals with Nifong’s law license. The Bar doesn’t have authority to bring criminal charges. That the Bar’s complaint contended that Nifong broke three laws and violated the Constitution would suggest that the Bar endorses a criminal inquiry.


Anonymous said...

Let us hope that Nifong garners even more attention from national figures. I personally think this is grandstanding, but that aside, if it results in criminal charges against Nifong, then it doesn't matter what motivates Obama.

Anonymous said...

Where is John Edwards?

Of course, he is being consistent as he was never particularly interested in NC matters when he was our Senator.

Maybe he will get more interested when the inevitable lawsuits emerge.


Anonymous said...

It is time for me to eat crow.

I doubted that Obama, the man who wrote "Dreams of my Father" and attended Trinity United Christian Church, was ever going to pipe up on this issue. He's already got Sharpton et al mau-mau'ing him.

I also thought that Dr Johnson suspected this, and wondered about Dr Johnson's sincerity in his stated support for this man.

Please accept my apologies (both of them).

Chicago said...

Excellent news. Barack is my guy for sure! He was before this but he is even more so now.

It is amazing to me both Nifong and his lawyers try to make such a big deal about the state border and saying "people who are not even from this state are making claims" etc. Nifong said it when he cited FODU in his response to the bar and now his lawyer is saying it.

Do those individuals not realize we are a NATION? We are not divided into 50 seperate countries, we are 50 states. I recall learning that in 4th grade.

Most importantly, do they also fail to realize the 3 individuals who are falsely accused are also not residents of the State of NC but residents of other states and were attending college in NC?

Anonymous said...

Will the NAACP argue that the feds ought to stay out of it when states are accused of trampling civil the rights of their own citizens?

Anonymous said...

It has been suggested elsewhere that we email the photo of Crystal to Obama. Email it to every public official that hasn't gotten onboard yet.

Anonymous said...

Jones' office confirms that nine House members have called for a federal probe of violations of civil rights in the Duke case :

Rick Renzi (1st district, AZ)
Tom Feeney (Florida)
Trent Franks (2nd district, AZ)
Todd Tiahrt (4th district, KS)
Virgil Goode (5th district, VA)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ--Reade Seligmann's congressman)
Peter King (NY)
Carolyn McCarthy (NY--Colin Finnert's congresswoman)
Walter Jones (NC), who started it all

Anonymous said...

from a non-lawyer / retired professor: isn't it ironic that Nifong's attorney invokes the sanctity of states' rights when Nifong was pandering to the national media almost a year ago?

Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

If you are Obama, a black Democrat running for president, this call is base widening. If you are Edwards or Clinton, a white Democrat running for president, such a call would risk alienating a key loyal Democrat voting block that you need.

So from a political point of view, this was an easier call for Obama. From a moral point of view, of course everyone should be calling for a federal investigation and to his credit Obama has lately made this call.

BTW, in comparison to Price, Obama already being a Senator risks offending less of his constituents than Price a Congressman for a district that likely has a much higher percent of black voters than the state of Illinois. Finally Professor Johnson, perhaps you should give a little history lesson on your barb, "states rights" Democrats, towards Congresman Price. Your younger readers may not know that the term comes from Southern Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s because of claimed "states rights." [I am an economist not an historian so back me up on this.] It is a clever little insult to throw Price's way.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the earlier poster's query as to "where is John Edwards?", I add "where is Hillary Clinton"? One of her constituents is being directly subjected to defamation and serious financial injury by the hoax, yet she remains on the sidelines. As a lawyer, she should obviously want to see that our legal system works fairly and equitably for all. Will she now step up and support Sen. Obama's call for a federal investigation?

I also agree with another earlier poster that if there is even a chance that a federal investigation will result in something painful happening to Nifong (jail time, huge damage awards paid out), then I encourage Obama to carry on. If his actions are, indeed, grandstanding, there is at least a downside to him politically in that some of the Nifong supporters in Durham and elsewhere may view this as proof that Obama is "not black enough" to be in the running to be the first black president. So this is not a no-risk position for him to take.

Let's hope that the feds do get involved. The more payback that is meted out to D.A.M.N. for his despicable actions, the better.

Anonymous said...

I would not vote for Obama (even if I were a citizen:) but I think this is a great statement from him. Good for him, he is clearly different from Al Sharpton/Gang88 type of professional racists. Where the heck have the other senators (rep & dem) been during all this time?

Everybody have known almost a year that this was a brutal hoax yet the boys are still facing criminal charges. Too bad the boys are not illegal immigrants. Had the boys been illegal immigrants Gonzales would have sent DOJ big guns to Durham 12 months ago helping them.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

People, I apologize that this is off topic, but the History News Network site reports:

"Congratulations to our colleague, KC Johnson, who has been chosen to hold the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at the University of Tel Aviv for the 2007-08 academic year. "

KC - I add my congratulations also! If the University of Tel Aviv was looking for a professor who defined the word 'humanities', they certainly found the right person.

Anonymous said...

I am imressed by Obama in this. It shows some real political courage. He has no constituent involved. He has some vulnerability to resentment from AA voters who don't think he's "black enough" to empathize with them. It is a very effective rapier jab to Clinton's campaign who does have a constituent involved and Edwards' campaign, in whose state this occurred.

Anonymous said...

10:47: Are you not aware that the founding fathers (the people who wrote our constitution among them) were "states rights" democrats (small "d") who envisioned a weak federal government of limited powers -- not the massively intrusive, all-powerful nightmare that it has become (thanks in large part to the US Supreme Court's deliberate misinterpretation of the commerce clause?.

Unlike you apparently, those of us who are "states rights" advocates do not view that designation as an insult!

gak said...

I said many times that I thought Nifong would get a slap and a stern finger shaking. I may be wrong and I'll be happy to eat those words if I am. I don't know about civil rights violations down the road, but I would like to see him out of the legal profession NOW

Howard said...

A grandstand play. Next he will tell us that he opposes cancer and thinks the Feds should spend more. Why not deal with the two Border Patrol Officers? Now THERE is not only a Federal case but obviously Justice Department miscarriage of justice.

Anonymous said...

As long as he keeps the blame on Nifong, and stays away from using the words "Crystal" and "Magnum" in the same sentence he should be politically OK.

Anonymous said...

The Obama comment is much to do about nothing. He only agreed with Congressman Jones that an investigation needed to be done by the DOJ. Let's see if he is willing to write to and publicly demand that the DOJ launch an investigation. His personal request to the DOJ will be where the rubber meets the road. Don't hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a clever "Queen Latifa" moment for Obama; a very moderate risk to his base (made up of mostly white liberals) and it certainly could put Edwards and Clinton on the defensive. Plus it's the right thing to do. Kudos to him; I hope these charges get dropped soon.

TruthHurts001 said...

I applaud Obama for this, however, it was a NO-BRAINER. I'm amazed that some are calling it "courageous"...give me a break.

He already has the black vote in the bag, this is a perfect opportunity to appeal to white voters across party lines. He has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

gak said...

Re: Carolyn at 11:03

My congrats to. I'm sure you've more then truly earned it


Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Howard is right. Obama's statement is a 'grandstand' - and I didn't need to listen to his awful, self-pitying wife to know that. Obama would have shown more courage protesting Atty General Gonzales' betrayal of his own Border agents. A betrayal that even included giving money and amnesty to the drug runner who testified at their mockery of a trial.

Obviously, Brodhead and the Gang of 88 took lessons from Gonzales on how to throw their own under the bus.

Anonymous said...

I think you meant Sister Souljah, not Queen Latifah. But I might have missed any interaction between Bill Clinton and the latter.

Anonymous said...

Obama has been wise to speak out on this very obvious miscarriage of justice.

Only those politicians who are totally tethered to the old Liberal line---such as David Price, John Edwards, Mike Easley, and it appears...Hillary Clinton on this issue, could ignore this case.

These people could speak out since they do so much for the black community on every other issue, but none of them is brave enough to risk a vote.

Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr should speak out, but they don't want to be called "racists" by the racemongers in the black community. This is not courageous of them, but understandable if one knows how the Liberal Democrats work in NC.

This is why I have developed such an aversion to the perpetual tactics of Liberal black voters. They don't seem to care that their tactics harm their community more than anything else.

The treatment of the lacrosse players by these people will pay negative dividends for decades to come.....from those people who previously were of goodwill.


Anonymous said...

Where are Senators:

Chuck Schumer
Hillary Clinton

Frank Lautenberg
Robert Menendez

Barbara Mikulski
Ben Cardin

They should be ashamed of their stone silence throughout this horrific situation.

Anonymous said...

This could be a good move by Obama. He might be able to take John Edwards out with this issue. Edwards has remained silent while 3 men have been abused by a out of control DA, police and court system in his own state. To make matters worse for Edwards he at one time worked in the same firm as Wade Smith the attorney for Collin Finnerty. Yet he hasn't spoke up about this matter. John Edwards silence on this issue is deafening.

Anonymous said...

KC - I hope we will have an update on the golf seminar soon. How did this thing go - how many attended and does duke feel they got their monies worth?

becket03 said...

Barack's calculated move reminds me of Clinton's "Sista Soulja" moment. Obama seems prepared to weather a bit of heat from a natural Democrat constituency, black Americans, in order to appeal both within his own party and across party lines to voters repulsed by the worst examples for special pleading among black Americans and their defenders on the left.

It's a risky maneuver, but has the same upside that accrued to Slick Willy, i.e., it is just.


AMac said...

JLS 10:47am --

As Cedarford's prior comment might suggest, in the landscape of this hoax, Obama's tepid endorsement of an honorable course of action makes him stand as a giant.

You said Johnson "should give a little history lesson on your barb, 'states rights' Democrats, towards Congresman Price... It is a clever little insult to throw Price's way."

Your comment drew attention to the ignoble connection between the phrase "states' rights" and defense of the Jim Crow status quo: an excellent pointer to those needing a US History refresher. Pinning the moniker on Rep. Price is not only clever, but fitting. And it's a garment he can discard any time he so chooses.

Anonymous said...

Kimberly Guilfoil and rita Crosby need to be fired ASAP. here we have the police and Dr Perper stating "no criminal activity" involved in the death of Anna Nicole. In spite of all evidence to the contratry as in the Hoax. they are still yapping about a conspiracy. Have emailed both fox and Dan

Anonymous said...

This case is not new. One doesn't have to do much wondering about Obama's motivation in speaking out against this case now (while he's campaigning) and not a year ago when it happend. Obama is no different than Nifong. Where Nifong used Crystal's false accusations to gain voter support, Obama will use the Lax player's innocence to try to gain the support of a few from his competitors camp.

Gary Packwood said...

Obama Invited out to be a Pollyanna

I think we have learned that any progressive politician who attempts to touch Duke during the investigation of Nifong & Co. will be charged with being a Pollyanna.

Obama will be careful with his comments about Duke just as Broadhead wants him to be.

Bloggers can be helpful I believe, if we continue our efforts to speak optimistically about the outcomes of these investigations.

We only want Duke and Durham to improve.

Anonymous said...

"John Edwards silence on this issue is deafening. "

What silence? Edwards went out of his way to hire a well-known anti-lacrosse anti-male left wing wacko who was actively supporting the hoax and Edwards was proud to keep her even after her lunatic rants became public in the mainstream media. Edwards publicly stood by black racists and other left-wing Gang88 types hoping to cement his position among black racists and dailykos people who dominate dem primaries.

This is embarrassing to the senate that the first member is only now making a (modest) call for DOJ investigation. Anyway, Obama was best of the lousy crowd of pathetic US senators.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

re: anon 11:21

Prof. Johnson called the Durham Congressman David (“States’ Rights Democrat”) Price. I merely pointed out that I suspected it is a barb and guess at the context.

Neither I nor I suspect Professor Johnson always think that states rights should be ignored. I am an economist, but certainly understand federalism and its role and importance in the founding of the US. I am sure as an historian, Professor Johnson knows and understands this even better than I do. So I suspect he would not always use “States’ Rights Democrat” as a barb. And heck maybe I am wrong now and he meant it as a compliment to Price?

PS. Congratulations Professor Johnson on you new appointment. I hope you enjoy your stay in Israel. I have visited many countries but Israel is one I have not been to yet and I really want to.

james conrad said...

KC states "But, as Freedman is well aware, the State Bar’s inquiry deals with Nifong’s law license. The Bar doesn’t have authority to bring criminal charges."...... OK, who exactly does have the authority in the north carolina state gov. to bring criminal charges?

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget that Crystal started this, could have stopped it anytime and continues to be evasive. I feel no pity for her and would expect the federal government to go after her as well. She deserves to be in jail with Nifong, the DPD henchmen and the Duke 88 need to thrown in the dungeon.

Anonymous said...

Gary Packwood@3:01pm

What a crock.

MTU'76 said...


"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere,
diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies."

Groucho Marx

Anonymous said...

I hope it's not out of bounds to credit Obama with doing the right thing for the right reasons. We should also applaud those members of congress who are standing up for justice.

I don't want to speculate on hidden motives. I'd prefer to celebrate the integrity of this handful of elected officials who are truly acting as "public servants."


Anonymous said...

I disagree that this was an easy call for Obama. There is debate in the marketplace of politics as to whether Obama and the authentic black experience share the same space. (See, for instance, Stanley Crouch's New York Daily News column "What Obama Isn't: Black Like Me", or The New Republic's Peter Beinart observation that Obama is seen as a "good black," thus lessening his following amongst some blacks, or Time Magazine's survey of this view here: Time Magazine Article Is Obama Black Enough Recently, in South Carolina, two key black political leaders have thrown their support behind Hillary even though they had been courted by Obama's people. Well aware that this move could cause some alienation, Obama's call was bold in my opinion and I'm impressed.

Gayle Miller said...

Nifong attorney David Freedman is utterly incorrect in his comments generated by Senator Obama's interest in this travesty that Nifong has foisted on Durham. Mr. Freedman, the wrongly accused students are residents of OTHER states. Charges were reinstated against some of these young men in OTHER STATES because of the asinine charges leveled against them in your state. That could easily be construed to make it a FEDERAL matter, rather than a local one.

Clearly, Mr. Freedman, you are as competent an attorney as your client.