Rule of Law

Mobilizing Election Integrity, at Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch is mobilizing resources for the fight over election integrity — the organization has just announced the hiring of former Department of Justice Voting Section Deputy Chief Robert Popper. This is very bad news for vote fraudsters, vote deniers, and organizations (including Eric Holder’s Justice Department) that stand in the way of election integrity.

Popper worked with me on the New Black Panther case at the Justice Department. This means that three of the four lawyers who worked on that case have left DOJ, and are now on the side of preventing lawlessness in voting rather than aiding and abetting it.

Panther King Samir Shabazz

Panther King Samir Shabazz

In the past, left-wing groups dedicated to eradicating safeguards of the integrity of American elections have had a monopoly on the litigation agenda and public narrative regarding election process. Usually these groups were funded by radical billionaire George Soros; they now have a partner in Attorney General Eric Holder. He uses taxpayer resources to attack election-integrity safeguards such as citizenship-verification requirements for voters in Georgia and Florida and voter photo identification laws in Texas and South Carolina.

In the past, nobody would oppose these attacks on election integrity. When states are sued, state officials often do a shoddy job defending election integrity statutes. Worse, attorneys working for the state are often sympathetic with the plaintiffs, and barely register a fight. Consider Pennsylvania’s anemic defense of the voter identification statute there: the lawyers for the Commonwealth actually agreed to submit an affidavit saying there was no voter fraud in Pennsylvania, a false position that hurt their case. Naturally, the left pounced on this blunder and pushed the narrative that voter fraud doesn’t exist in Pennsylvania.

Such blunders and bumbles by attorneys representing states defending election-integrity laws reveal that something has to change. For the last few years, lawyers with hard experience in federal election laws have marshaled a response to this circumstance. For too long, conservatives have only considered campaign finance laws to constitute “election law.” Meanwhile, the left has moved the ground underneath them by changing election process laws.

As I have written:

Literally hundreds of individuals man permanent stations, full time, at these groups. They benefit from tens of millions of dollars in funding. They bring lawsuits under federal and state statutes ranging from the Voting Rights Act, Motor Voter law and the Help America Vote Act. They station teams of election observers in polling places around the nation every election to fuel their litigation and their media efforts. Almost nobody opposes their efforts.

Their efforts pay off over and over again. Whether preventing Michigan or Colorado secretaries of state from purging the voting rolls of dead voters in 2008, or grandstanding about purported “voter intimidation” when law-abiding citizens in Houston, Texas deploy retirees to serve as poll watchers in 2010, these leftist groups are affecting the outcomes of elections.

Have GOP institutions stood in the breach? Hardly. There hasn’t been a single serious litigation effort by a party to help ensure election integrity anywhere. Campaign finance rules have remained the shiny object.

Now, that’s all changing. A coalition of groups — including True the Vote, American Civil Rights Union, and Judicial Watch, among others — have partnered with former Justice Department Voting Section lawyers to fix this situation. Simply, this coalition is doing what Eric Holder fails to do: protect the integrity of American elections. Judicial Watch is currently fighting to clean up the voter rolls in Indiana and Ohio. It intervened with True the Vote to defend citizenship verification in Florida. They oppose Holder when he takes the side of the lawless.

Now, Robert Popper joins the effort. From the Judicial Watch press release:

Judicial Watch announced today its newest team member, attorney Robert D. Popper. As Deputy Chief of the Voting Section of the Department of Justice (DOJ), he led complex litigations involving the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Help America Vote Act, and he obtained favorable results in major lawsuits in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and California. Mr. Popper will help lead Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton issued the following statement on Popper’s hiring:

“We are pleased and proud to welcome Robert Popper on board. Judicial Watch has made election integrity a centerpiece of its activities. As one of the nation’s top lawyers in the area of election law, Robert Popper shares its deep and sincere interest in making certain that every vote cast is legitimate. Bob will be helping lead our efforts to strengthen the integrity of our elections — which is under unprecedented assault by the Obama Justice Department and allied leftist groups.”

“I am thrilled to be joining an organization with a history of activism in behalf of open and honest government administration. I look forward to advancing the goals of Judicial Watch through its Election Integrity Project.”

Mr. Popper has garnered numerous professional awards, including the Justice Department’s prestigious Special Commendation Award for Outstanding Service.

Prior to joining the DOJ, Mr. Popper worked as a private attorney in New York City for 17 years. He served as trial counsel in federal and state trials, appeals, and arbitrations. His practice extended to a wide range of legal matters — including voting rights. Mr. Popper served as both trial and appellate counsel in a successful constitutional challenge alleging racial segregation in the design of New York’s congressional districts. As counsel for the plaintiffs, Mr. Popper obtained a favorable ruling from a three-judge federal panel in the Eastern District of New York, which was summarily affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Popper is a published author on the topic of voting rights law. He developed a legal standard relating to gerrymandering that is widely cited by experts and was adopted by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. He has spoken about voting rights to a conference of U.S. Attorneys at the National Advocacy Center, to a conference of state officials, and before countless local community representatives. He has testified before the Missouri Senate Redistricting Committee on gerrymandering. He has made radio and television appearances on behalf of the Heartland Institute.

Mr. Popper is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University Law School. He is admitted to practice in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

This hiring represents a bad day indeed for the institutional left and voter-fraud deniers.