A conservative black group has accused the NAACP of rigging a landmark court decision on affirmative action.

The African-American leadership network Project 21 filed a complaint yesterday with the Virginia State Bar asking it to investigate NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. president and director-counsel Elaine Jones for “unethical influence in shaping constitutional cases.”

The complaint stems from the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times’ publishing of memos recently leaked from the Senate Judiciary Committee. One memo indicated Jones contacted the office of senior member Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., on April 17, 2002, to urge the delay of the confirmation of one of President Bush’s judicial nominees to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals until after that court decided on a challenge to the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policy.

“The thinking is that the current 6th Circuit will sustain the affirmative action program, but if a new judge with conservative views is confirmed before the case is decided, that new judge will be able, under 6th Circuit rules, to review the case and vote on it,” a staffer wrote, apparently paraphrasing the conversation with Jones in reference to the pending confirmation of Tennessee Judge Julia Gibbons.

Jones was participating in the Michigan case at the time.

The Project 21 complaint asserts the memo apparently shows an attempt by Jones to “intentionally … disrupt and exert improper influence on the judicial body hearing her client’s pending case by requesting that a U.S. senator and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee stack the judicial deck in her favor.”

WorldNetDaily reported, the circuit court ruled 5-4 to uphold the university’s admissions program at the law school. Gibbons was confirmed weeks later, despite having been nominated eight months earlier.

Last July, the United States Supreme Court upheld the appellate court’s decision but restricted the affirmative-action plan to the law school, eliminating preferences in undergraduate admissions.

“Obstructionism is the order of the day in the Senate,” said Project 21 member Gregory Parker. “Now we know that this judicial obstructionism is part of a carefully orchestrated plan by a few senators and left-wing special interest groups.”

The Center for Individual Freedom, the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary and the Congress of Racial Equality joined Project 21 in submitting the complaint against Jones.

The legal watchdog group, Judicial Watch, has also called for a probe of the memos.

“The case was fixed,” Tom Fitton, the group’s president, told the Washington Times. “It ought to be examined by the Ethics Committee.”

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