Once again, we are reminded that we have to keep an eye on Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the Attorney General of the United States, because he's wired into just about every tinhorn authoritarian operation of the American right. Wednesday's episode involves the assault on voting rights, and the spurious "voter fraud" rationale for disenfranchising the non-white and inconvenient portions of the electorate.
This project was a particular obsession of the last Republican administration and, last month, sensing that the time was ripe for a comeback, many of the superstars in the previous disenfranchisement hootenanny wrote a letter to JeffBo. All of the usual greatest hits were in heavy rotation. First, though, the whining and victimization.
Investigators noted that the Division, then led by AAG Tom Perez, maintained a culture of holding that they did not believe civil rights laws should protect all Americans. Investigators were also not amused by the "petty and juvenile personal attacks." Some Division employees posted on public websites about coworkers they shared legal disagreements with, particularly against employees who were openly Christian. Far beyond collegial banter, the report found that such statements were "highly offensive and potentially threatening " to others…The letter provides additional insight into the culture of collegiality that is shared between Division staff and third party activist organizations. In a 1993 Georgia redistricting case, the court found that an America Civil Liberties Union attorney was in "constant contact" with DOJ staff communicating in "disturbing" tones that were "informal and familiar", as opposed to an "advocate submitting proposals to higher authorities."
Then comes the list of suggestions, all aimed at preserving a decades-long commitment to rolling back the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, which culminated, of course, in Chief Justice John Roberts' declaration of the Day Of Jubilee, which makes the return of this flock of harpies all the more perilous.
Looking forward, the next Assistant Attorney General should be committed to returning the Civil Rights Division to equal enforcement of all federal voting statutes strictly to advance the Rule of Law rather than partisan gamesmanship. Listed below are brief examples of immediate strategic shifts to pursue: return to race-neutral Voting Rights Act enforcement that seeks to block discriminatory policies and procedures based on demonstrable impacts rather than mere statistical analysis; put an end to politically-driven pursuits against state photo voter identification requirements, citizenship verification in voter registration, and common-sense adjustments to early voting periods; return to enforcing federal statutes barring against voter intimidation. Repeatedly, the Obama DOJ failed to act, return to enforcing Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act requiring that voter rolls meet federal maintenance standards.
(The emphasized portion of the above is likely a reference to the New Black Panthers who famously intimidated voters in Philadelphia by being black and standing there. This is one of the leading parables that conservatives tell themselves on WFB's birthday.)
The jamokes who signed the letter are a murderers' row of vote suppressors-including the daddy of them all, Kris Kobach, as well as J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky, who were central to the Bush DOJ's voter-suppression efforts that led, ultimately, to the firing of U.S. Attorneys who declined to share the fantasies of their superiors.
This did not escape the notice of civil rights organizations, who sent their own letter trying to warn JeffBo against lining up with the old gang. I wish them all the luck in the world, because they're going to need it. This is the Day of Jubilee and they're not invited.
[h/t to Josh's joint]
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