Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Attorney General Holder at the NAACP

Elections have consequences. And one of the consequences of electing President Barack Obama is that this is the man that is our Attorney General.

Anyone who has been reading what I have to say for any length of time knows that I have been both proud and impressed with the job he has done - even as those on the left and right have attacked him or called for his resignation. His speech before the NAACP today was reminder of why.

AG Holder dedicated the first half of his speech today to talking about the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman. He said a lot of important things. But what stood out to me is that THIS is the experience of the man who serves in that office.
Trayvon’s death last spring caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15 year old son, like my dad did with me. This was a father-son tradition I hoped would not need to be handed down. But as a father who loves his son and who is more knowing in the ways of the world, I had to do this to protect my boy. I am his father and it is my responsibility, not to burden him with the baggage of eras long gone, but to make him aware of the world he must still confront. This is a sad reality in a nation that is changing for the better in so many ways.

As important as it was, I am determined to do everything in my power to ensure that the kind of talk I had with my son isn’t the only conversation that we engage in as a result of these tragic events.
As the saying goes...this is a man with some real skin in the game. Its about his son.

Just as importantly, AG Holder spent the second half of his speech talking about the Voting Rights Act. I've not seen many people comment on this part, but he said something pretty powerful.
Unfortunately, last month, an important piece of this foundation was chipped away – when the Supreme Court invalidated a key part of the Voting Rights Act...

Let me be clear: this was a deeply disappointing and flawed decision. It dealt a serious setback to the cause of voting rights. And, like all of you, I strongly disagree with the Court’s action.
I'm no historian so I can only wonder if there is precedence for a sitting Attorney General to publicly say that a Supreme Court decision is flawed and state strong disagreement with it.

At any rate, Holder is not going to sit on the sidelines while this all gets sorted out.
Therefore, the struggle for voting rights cannot be relegated to the pages of history. And this is why protecting the fundamental right to vote – for all Americans – will continue to be a top priority for the Department of Justice so long as I have the privilege of serving as Attorney General...

...the Justice Department will continue to monitor jurisdictions around the country for any changes that may hamper voting rights. We will not hesitate to take aggressive action – using every tool that remains available to us – against any jurisdiction that attempts to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling by hindering eligible citizens’ free and fair exercise of the franchise.

We also will not wait for Congressional action to refine – and re-focus – our current enforcement efforts. In fact, I am announcing today that I have directed the Department’s Civil Rights Division to shift resources to the enforcement of Voting Rights Act provisions that were not affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling – including Section 2, which prohibits voting discrimination based on race, color, or language – in addition to other federal voting rights laws.
Thank you Attorney General Holder. This is exactly why I'll always have your back!

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