The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report today entitled “An Assessment of Minority Voting Rights Access in the United States.” The press release repeatedly emphasizes that the report was “unanimous.” This is technically true, but highly misleading. My mother died about an hour before the telephonic meeting at which the vote was taken, so I was unable to call in. As I wrote in my Commissioner Statement, if I had been present, I would have voted no. I believe the same is true of my colleague Peter Kirsanow, who was stuck in a deposition at the time. Only Commissioners appointed by Democrats voted to approve the report.
The most remarkable part of the report can be found in the Statement of Commissioner Michael Yaki (the Pelosi appointee) on page 301:
[The Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder] has turned the concept of voting rights on its head, where officials now work to restrict, and not expand, the franchise. Worse, there is little attempt to conceal the racial animus underlying these actions or the transparency of their actions to block the franchise and empowerment of minorities. In this way, there is a direct line from Shelby to Charlottesville, where alt-right, neo-Nazi, and hate groups, in their putsch-filled delusions, believe they can turn back the clock and preserve the supremacy of their self-defined racial purity. When government is acting under the color of law to enact the legal equivalent, it becomes a distinction without a difference.
Got that? State legislatures enacting voter ID laws and other anti-fraud measures are the same as “alt-right, neo-Nazi, and hate groups” who “in their putsch-filled delusions, believe they can turn back the clock and preserve the supremacy of their self-defined racial purity.” And it was all made possible by a Supreme Court that “turned the concept of voting rights on its head.”
Yaki has a history of intemperate statements. But the Chair Catherine Lhamon (an Obama appointee) concurred in his Statement. If it were a 40-page Statement with the crazy parts buried in the footnotes, I might be inclined to believe she just didn’t see it. But it isn’t even two pages long, and the crazy parts dominate the text. I have to assume she agrees with him.
I’ll post a link to my Statement in the report when I get a chance.
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