President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have inappropriately waded into the case against George Zimmerman. While the effects are unclear, the misuse of executive power is unmistakable.
We don’t know if Zimmerman is guilty of a crime, though he may be, and if he is he should be punished. We do know that the Obama administration has sought to influence whether he would be charged, and that it might have succeeded.
Here’s what the Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, who is charging Zimmerman with second degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, said yesterday.
We don’t prosecute by public pressure or petition. We prosecute cases on the relevant facts of each case and on the laws of the state of Florida.
Now, put yourself in her shoes. You are deciding whether to prosecute. The President of the United States of America has already said that the victim looks like he could be his son. Obama just had Al Sharpton over to the White House to attend the Easter Prayer Breakfast. Sharpton is the chief instigator of the threats of riots and boycotts of the Florida city of Sanford, where the shooting occurred, if charges are not brought against Zimmerman.
Now, tell me the pressure is not going to affect your decision.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Wednesday already inadvertently acknowledged that Obama had been out of line, saying that there would be no further comment because there is an investigation. Said Carney:
I certainly don’t expect you’ll hear from him about an ongoing investigation or — both at the state and federal level.
But there was an “ongoing investigation,” at least at the state level, when Obama expressed sympathy for Martin. Why would in be appropriate for Obama to comment then?
What’s more, the federal investigators who are looking into whether a civil rights crime occurred got their marching orders Wednesday when Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and said:
I know that many of you are greatly — and rightly — concerned about the recent shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a young man whose future has been lost to the ages.
And he said of Sharpton:
(Thank you) for your partnership, your friendship, and your tireless efforts to speak out for the voiceless, to stand up for the powerless, and to shine a light on the problems we must solve, and the promises we must fulfill.
Now, imagine you are a Justice Department civil rights lawyer deciding whether to press federal charges against Zimmerman. What do you think the boss wants you to do?