Dover Bitch

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sun don't shine above the ground

(Cross-posted at Hullabaloo)

Tomorrow, the Summer Solstice, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be delivering a speech on Civil Rights in Oxford, Mississippi. Won't that be special. I wonder if he'll use the phrase "I don't recall" much.

Oxford, of course, is home to the University of Mississippi, where, in the middle of a riot, James Meredith became the first African-American student. Meredith survived after being shot, nearly four years later, as he marched for voting rights.

I've heard that Meredith does not enjoy being considered an important figure in the Civil Rights movement. From the looks of the Voting Rights Section of the Department of Justice, it would seem Gonzales doesn't, either.

Via McClatchy on Monday:

WASHINGTON — A former Justice Department political appointee blocked career lawyers from filing at least three lawsuits charging local and county governments with violating the voting rights of African-Americans and other minorities, seven former senior department employees charged Monday.

Hans von Spakovsky also derailed at least two investigations into possible voter discrimination, the former employees of the Voting Rights Section said in interviews and in a letter to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. They urged the panel to reject von Spakovsky's nomination to the Federal Election Commission.


In the letter to California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel's chairwoman, the former employees said that von Spakovsky acted as the "de facto voting section chief" from early 2003 until late 2005, spending virtually all of his time on voting matters and promoting "partisan political interests."

"We have never seen a political appointee exercise this level of control over the day-to-day operations of the voting section," they said.

It was the second letter in the last eight days in which former employees of the Voting Rights Section, including [Joseph] Rich and former deputy chief Robert Kengle, urged the Senate panel to reject the nomination. Feinstein told von Spakovsky during the hearing that the criticism from former department officials would make it difficult for him to win confirmation.

Monday's letter included the first allegations that von Spakovsky torpedoed suits and investigations over alleged state, county or local laws that diminish the voting strength of African-Americans, Native Americans or other minorities or prevent them from voting altogether.

I'm sure Gonzales' speech will be riveting.

McClatchy, by the way, has a new website with a new slogan, "Truth to Power." Josh Marshall sings the praises they deserve.

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