“Arrogant, Undemocratic and An Insult to the Rule of Law’

Published Mon, Jun 11 2012 8:11 AM

“The administration's actions aren't just wrong, they are arrogant, undemocratic and an insult to the rule of law.”  That’s what Chairman Lamar Smith declared in his opening statement to the hearing where the sole witness was Attorney General Eric Holder.  House Judiciary Committee members had serious questions for Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday on the Department of Justice’s mishandling of election matters.  Many Congressmen criticized the Justice Department’s denial of preclearance of voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina as well as the administration’s recent actions to block voter roll maintenance efforts in Florida.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner asked the serious questions about the administration’s position on Florida’s updating of their voter rolls. Sensenbrenner pointed out the Florida has been diligent in offering due process protections to ensure that eligible voters are not removed from the rolls; the due process protections included notice, a 30 day waiting period, appearance in newspaper of general circulation, a hearing where a registrar makes a determination upon the preponderance of evidence, and the right of appeal to the state circuit court.  Sensenbrenner asked, “What rights do non-citizens, in particular illegal immigrants, have to the protection of the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act?”  Holder could only answer, “They have no rights.” Sensenbrenner explained the need to update voter rolls: “Any ineligible voter or fraudulent voter who has a ballot placed in the ballot box with hundreds of eligible voters ends up diluting the votes of the legitimate voters.  And the federal law is very clear on that.”

Chairman Smith said, “Instead of acting to prevent voter fraud, the Department of Justice has challenged common-sense voter ID laws that require voters to identify themselves before they are allowed to vote.” Representative Dan Lungren followed up with further questions about the many places that require ID.  He said, “If I were lucky enough to be invited to meet you and see you at your office at the Justice Department, wouldn’t I need to show a government-issued photo ID to get in?”   He continued, “If I were to go to the federal courthouse here in D.C. either as a party or an attorney, wouldn’t I have to show a government-issued photo ID?” Then he added, “If I were to come here from California to exercise my constitutional right of travel and as an ordinary citizen petition the government for a redress my grievances, I would have to show my government-issued photo ID?”  Then Lungren pointed out that the Justice Department was not investigating the discriminatory effect of those laws.

Rep. Trent Franks asked about the video from James O’Keefe of a D.C. polling place.  Franks asked, “What was your reaction when you saw the video of the young man claim your ballot and your reaction to requiring a photo ID when you saw that video?” Holder’s response was, “It’s an attempt to show something, I suppose.”  What the attorney general was reluctant to admit is that is showed how easy it was for anyone to impersonate a voter, and that even includes a white man impersonating a black attorney general.


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