The PJ Tatler

Christopher Coates departs the Justice Department

Many will remember Christopher Coates, the former Voting Section Chief at the Department of Justice.  Coates was the brave fellow, while still working at the DOJ, who defied orders to ignore a subpoena issued by the United States Commission on Civil Rights and testified about the New Black Panthers voter intimidation dismissal.  Coates testified a few months after I quit my DOJ job and also testified.  I wrote about his testimony here:

Yet Americans have a new hero today. The extraordinary courage it took for Coates to risk his job, his career, even his safety to come forward and testify is extraordinary. Aspiring lawyers looking for a role model can find in Coates a noble reason to enter the profession.

After I testified about the hostility toward race neutral enforcement of voting laws, some deniers said they wanted to see more evidence, and with Coates, they got it. 

Today is Christopher Coates’ last day as a Justice Department attorney.  He had been shipped off to South Carolina to work in the U.S. Attorney’s office on a detail.  He recently learned that he would not have the option of staying in that position.  Eric Holder obviously didn’t name him employee of the year.  Thus ends a distinguished and award winning career of public service. 

Any Republican Presidential campaign looking for a top shelf election lawyer who doesn’t charge inflated rates would be well served by hiring this former Chief of the DOJ Voting Section to help navigate the minefields posed by an Obama-run Justice Department Voting Section in 2012.  During the 2008 election, Obama campaign lawyers badgered the Justice Department (and Coates) to adopt all manner of policies designed to benefit Obama.  In 2012 they won’t need to badger.  DOJ will only need to implement, and Coates will understand how to deal with the biased election machinery of DOJ better than anyone.