The Justice Department won't be doing Jack Johnson a solid.
Pardon attorney Ronald L. Rodgers doesn't think it's a good use of the DOJ's time to investigate the grounds on which Johnson should be pardoned, noting that since he's dead, he can't really, really benefit from it.
In cases like Johnson’s, given the time that has passed and the historical record that would need to be scoured, the department’s resources for pardon requests are best used on behalf of people "who can truly benefit" from them, Rodgers wrote.
Not unreasonable. The pardon office is probably an extremely busy place, but in this case, they could probably have a summer intern look at the ruling for maybe five, ten minutes and say, "Oh. That was a racially-motivated convinction with no legal merit that besmirched a man's reputation for no other reason than because he was a Black man who ran with white women."
So Rodgers has kicked this up to President Obama, who obviously doesn't have much else to do. Rep. Peter King and John McCain have been on the "Free Jack Johnson" tip for a while now and have urged the president to step in on his behalf.