Jim Crow Prowls Paradise

Imagine if a state didn’t let someone vote in an election because their grandfather wasn’t the correct race. Surely lawyers in Eric Holder’s Justice Department would be typing up a lawsuit as fast as fingers could fly across the keyboard. After all, Obama is the president who boasted he was a champion for voting rights, falsely we’d later learn. Eric Holder compared voter ID to a modern version of Jim Crow. But a recent federal court opinion shows Jim Crow is alive and well, and living in paradise. This week, the United States District Court in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) struck down a law that prevented American citizens from voting in a referendum on a constitutional amendment if they were not of “Northern Mariana descent.” The plaintiff, John Davis, should have enjoyed the help of the United States Justice Department Voting Section in wiping out the law. From the federal court:

Northern Mariana descent, as defined by [the CNMI law] is a racial classification, and under federal law it may not serve as the basis for preventing otherwise qualified voters from voting on proposed amendments.

The federal court granted summary judgment against the CNMI on a federal voting rights statute enforced by the Justice Department, 42 U.S.C. 1971(a). Summary judgment means it wasn’t even a close call. It means Holder could have brought and won the case easily. His failure to enforce the Voting Rights Act in the CNMI was perhaps more egregious than his dismissal of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case in Philadelphia. Let’s see if the same stooges in academia and the media who defended the New Black Panther dismissal now defend Holder’s inaction against a brazenly racially exclusionary law in the CNMI. But the CNMI isn’t the only Pacific paradise where Jim Crow prowls and Eric Holder is doing nothing to enforce federal voting rights. The same movement to allocate political power to only people of color in the CNMI is alive and well in Hawaii. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has created a racially exclusionary voter roll to conduct a state-run election. (The materials from the office must be seen to be believed.)  A 2011 Hawaii law limits registration on this roll to only those who had an ancestor who lived on Hawaii in 1778 or received race-based land benefits in 1921. It also allows anyone with a “significant connection” to the “Native Hawaiian community” to register for the roll, which should nicely scoop up the radical academics who have flocked to the University of Hawaii to agitate for exactly this sort of race-based separatism.

Materials produced by Hawaii Government Materials produced by Hawaii Government

The Hawaii law is being implemented with great fanfare, including a plan for racially correct Hawaiian voters to elect delegates to an “Aha,” or Constitutional Convention to draft a governing document for the new Native Hawaiian nation. Remember, this nonsense is being paid for and administered by the government of Hawaii. Never mind that the United States Supreme Court spanked Hawaii in 2000 for creating an almost identical racially exclusionary election. Surely the Justice Department Voting Section has rushed to stop the brazenly discriminatory creation of a race-based voter roll? Surely the interests of the United States run counter to a separatist movement funded and run by the Hawaiian government? Think again. Eric Holder is too busy worrying about Texas and North Carolina voter identification laws, which creates an irony we will return to momentarily. First let’s visit Guam, a beautiful and strategic Pacific island, one round trip south of Tokyo in a B-29.

Guam has created a racially discriminatory voter roll just like the one in Hawaii and the CNMI. In Guam, you are only allowed to register to vote if you had an ancestor living on Guam who became an American citizen in 1950. The problem for thousands of American citizens living on Guam in 2014 -- nearly everyone on Guam in 1950 was of the Chamorro race. This has created a racially exclusionary voter roll for a plebiscite election populated only by voters with Chamorro bloodlines. And what will be on the ballot in the this plebiscite? Whether or not Guam should break away from the United States. Separatism is driving the desire to create a racially exclusionary electorate on Guam, just like in Hawaii. Along with the Center for Individual Rights and others, I am representing US Air Force Major Dave Davis (Ret.), a white American citizen on Guam who was denied the right to register to vote for the plebiscite.  Dave doesn't have the right racial bloodlines to vote.

Maj. Dave Davis (Ret.) Maj. Dave Davis (Ret.)

Dave relentlessly badgered Eric Holder’s Justice Department Voting Section for help.  Predictably, as in the CNMI and Hawaii, Eric Holder offered no help. Holder has other priorities than Mr. Davis. Eric Holder called voter ID the modern version of Jim Crow. So a historical refresher is in order. When it came to voting, Jim Crow created all manner of tricks and traps to block black voters from registering to vote. Jim Crow had close cousins like separate water fountains, restrooms and lunch counters. But in voting, Jim Crow was all about keeping blacks off the registration rolls. In Oklahoma, Mr. Crow said that unless your grandfather was eligible to vote, you couldn’t register to vote without passing a complicated literacy test designed to trap black registrants. You needed the right bloodlines to participate in an election. The Supreme Court struck down that trick in Guinn v. United States. Jim Crow wasn’t about voting laws that applied equally to everyone, like voter ID. Jim Crow wondered who your grandfather was. Jim Crow made sure you couldn’t get registered if your bloodlines weren’t racially correct. Jim Crow is alive and well in paradise. What is happening in Guam, the CNMI and Hawaii bears far more resemblance to Jim Crow than the voter ID laws the Justice Department is spending millions of dollars fighting. When I did my interview with Megyn Kelly in July 2010, I knew that the New Black Panther case wasn’t the only matter where a racialist policy by Holder’s Justice Department left some voters unprotected from racial discrimination. After leaving DOJ, I talked to American patriots like Dave Davis who said he had been begging for DOJ help to break down racially discriminatory barriers to the ballot box, but had received none. The New Black Panther dismissal was the first example of Holder’s racially exclusionary priorities, but it wasn’t the only one. When President Obama boasted that his Justice Department had brought 102 voting rights cases, I knew the numbers were phony. Hans von Spakovsky and I explained in detail how the president’s list was phony. Surely an attorney general committed to protecting the voting rights of all Americans, and not just “my people” or “people of color,” could have found the time to submit even an amicus brief in the CNMI case, at a minimum. The CNMI law itself should have been attacked in court by Holder under 42 U.S.C. 1971(c), a law which allowed Holder to bring the suit instead of the plaintiff. Sadly, the voting rights of CNMI plaintiff John Davis don’t seem to be a priority of Eric Holder. Perhaps cases against the CNMI and Hawaii were never brought because the lawyers who have been hired by Eric Holder share Holder’s priorities. PJ Media’s Every Single One series revealed the ideological homogeneity of the new Voting Section lawyers. The Voting Section lawyer assigned to the CNMI is Elizabeth Westfall. It was her job to monitor election litigation in the CNMI and press to vindicate the voting rights of CNMI citizens who were discriminated against. ws Under Voting Section procedures, Westfall would be the first to identify the plight of John Davis and organize DOJ aid.  This also gives her the ability to deep-six the matter.  John Davis helps pay Westfall's salary, and John Davis deserved protection. The Every Single One series described her background:

According to the Federal Election Commission website, she contributed nearly $7,000 to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign, contributed another $4,400 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, contributed $2,000 to Wesley Clark’s presidential campaign in 2004, contributed $3,000 to John Kerry’s presidential campaign and compliance fund in 2004, contributed $500 to former Senate Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s PAC in 2004, and contributed $2,000 to Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2000. In addition to this incredible funding of Democratic candidates, Westfall worked for six years at the far-left Advancement Project, directing its Voter Protection Program and managing its litigation and advocacy activities. She also previously served as a staff attorney at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in its Fair Housing Group, and worked on the Hill as a legislative assistant to then-Congressman Bill Richardson (D-NM). On Westfall’s self-drafted Harvard alumni biography, she notes that she has testified before the U.S. Congress about supposed “barriers” to voter registration, “unwarranted” purging of the voter rolls, and voter caging.

Ironically, instead of fighting the modern version of Jim Crow in the CNMI, Westfall spends her time fighting Texas voter identification laws in court. Or consider the DOJ lawyer assigned to Hawaii, Catherine Meza. Instead of bringing a case to knock down the racially exclusionary Hawaii voter registration roll, Meza is busy attacking North Carolina voter id in court. Her priorities as outlined in the Every Single One series:

Ms. Meza, who contributed $450 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign before getting hired by the Voting Section, has a rich history of liberal advocacy. During law school at Berkeley, she interned for (i) the NAACP LDF, where she worked on voting rights and “economic justice” issues, (ii) Bay Area Legal Aid, (iii) the ACLU of Northern California, (iv) the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), (v) Centro Legal de la Raza, and (vi) the East Bay Community Law Center Workers’ Rights Clinic. On her resume, Meza proudly proclaims her membership in the American Constitution Society and her role as an Advisory Board Member of the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice. Meanwhile, while working a brief stint at the Fried Frank law firm after law graduation, she assisted on a pro bono case seeking to preserve the confidentiality of ID cards issued to illegal aliens by the city of New Haven, Connecticut, an effort to help illegal aliens avoid being prosecuted for violating federal law. She also helped draft a report for the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in which she suggested that the U.S. “government’s programs and policies continue to perpetuate segregation and concentrate poverty in communities of color.”

There’s that “of color” thing again. It is no surprise to anyone with walking around sense that civil rights no longer means what it used to mean. The moral victories of the civil rights movement have been squandered by people like Eric Holder and Catherine Meza. In the 1960s, civil rights meant the government would stop using race to provide benefits and impose barriers. Today, the civil rights industry is usually about using race to provide benefits and impose barriers. That Holder’s version of justice doesn’t include some Americans living in Guam, the CNMI and Hawaii should surprise nobody after six years of the Obama presidency. These racially exclusionary efforts are explicit attempts to diminish American sovereignty. The advocates don’t expect it to happen overnight. But like the Chinese proverb that says “three feet of ice is not formed in a single day,” efforts to divide Guam, the CNMI and Hawaii between natives and the American “colonizer” are long-term efforts. Over 8,000 sailors, soldiers and Marines died on these islands in the 20th century. They bore the battle and allowed American ideals of constitutional equality to extend westward. They also secured the most important deep water ports in the Pacific and strategically essential airfields from which I watched American F-22 Raptors land alongside Japanese F-2s. That separatists are using the tricks of Jim Crow to erode the political order in the Pacific while Holder sits silent is a dangerous disgrace.

An F-22 Raptor on the flight line at Andersen Air Force Base Guam (photo by author). An F-22 Raptor on the flight line at Andersen Air Force Base Guam (photo by author).