The Death Of Trayvon Martin Has Unleashed A Wave Of Demogoguery

Trayvon Martin Protest 6 SC The Death of Trayvon Martin Has Unleashed A Wave of Demogoguery

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The death of Trayvon Martin is, of course, a devastating event for his family. That a 17-year-old boy returning from a visit to a nearby store for a snack should have his life taken is difficult to understand and accept. On many levels, the incident was, as President Obama has said, “tragic.”

Still, this event has provoked demagoguery that ignores the complex facts of the case itself and has provided an opportunity for provocateurs to proclaim that race relations in America are similar to those of the segregated Old South, as if the notable progress we have made in recent years had never happened.

The Deceptions
Consider some of the things we have heard.

* Jesse Jackson referred to the trial as “Old South Justice.” NAACP President Benjamin Jealous declared, “This will confirm for many that the only problem with the New South is it occupies the same time and space as the Old South.” He invoked the memory of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was killed in 1955 after supposedly whistling at a white woman “and whose murderers were acquitted.” An article in The Washington Post drew parallels between this case and that of Emmett Till, as well as the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, and the 1933 case of the Scottsboro Boys, nine young black men accused of raping two white girls.

* “Trayvon Benjamin Martin is dead because he and other black boys and men like him are seen not as a person but a problem,” the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnick, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, told a congregation once led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

* In Sanford, Florida, the Rev. Valerie J. Houston drew shouts of support and outrage at Allen Chapel A.M.E. as she denounced, “the racism and the injustice that pollute the air in America. Lord, I thank you for sending Trayvon to reveal the injustice, God, that lives in Sanford.”

* One of those who organized demonstrations against the verdict and promoted the idea that our society is little better than it was in the years of segregation is the Rev. Al Sharpton, always ready to pour fuel on a fire, and now provided by MSNBC with a nationwide pulpit. How many today remember Sharpton’s history of stirring racial strife? In 1987, he created a media frenzy in the case of Tawana Brawley, a black teenager who claimed she was raped by a group of white police officers. A grand jury found that Brawley had lied about the event in Wappingers Falls, New York, and the case was dropped. The event that Sharpton used to indict our society for widespread racism never happened.

* In 1991, Sharpton exacerbated tensions between blacks and Orthodox Jews in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. A three-day riot, fueled by Sharpton’s inflammatory statements, erupted when a Guyanese boy died after being struck by a car driven by a Jewish man. At the boy’s funeral, Sharpton complained about “diamond cutters” in the neighborhood in what a Brandeis University historian described as the most anti-Semitic incident in U.S. history. Two men died and three were critically injured before order was restored. Clearly, Al Sharpton does not come to a discussion of the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case with clean hands.
The Testimony and Evidence
Few of those urging demonstrations against the alleged “racism” in the jury verdict finding Mr. Zimmerman not guilty have spent very much time examining the law and the trial itself.

Mr. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, claimed that he shot Mr. Martin only after the teenager knocked him to the ground, punched him, straddled him, and slammed his head into the concrete. The murder charge required a showing that Zimmerman was full of “ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent” when he shot Martin. But prosecutors had little evidence to back up that claim, according to most legal experts. They could point only to his words during his call to the police dispatcher the night he spotted Martin walking in the rain with his sweatshirt’s hood up and grew suspicious. Zimmerman appeared calm during the call and did not describe Martin’s race until he was asked.

Lawyers point to what they said were errors by the prosecution. The testimony of Officer Chris Serino, the Sanford Police Department’s chief investigator on the case, for example, told the jury he believed Zimmerman’s account was truthful. Dr. Shiping Bao, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Martin, came across, legal experts report, befuddled, shuffling through his notes because he could remember very little. “It was horrific,” said Richard Sharpstein, a prominent Miami criminal defense lawyer. “It was a deadly blow to this case because the case depended on forensic evidence to contradict or disprove George Zimmerman’s story.”

The performance was the opposite of that by Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a nationally recognized forensic pathologist, who took the stand for the defense. Dr. Di Maio said the evidence and injuries to Zimmerman were consistent with the defense’s account that Trayvon Martin was leaning over the defendant when he was shot. The evidence of Zimmerman’s injuries may have helped his case, but it was not legally necessary. He needed to show only that he feared great bodily harm or death when he pulled out his gun, which he was carrying legally. “Classic self-defense,” said his attorney.

Voices of Reason
It is quite different to have sympathy for the Martin family — to regret the incident, or to be critical of Florida’s laws about concealed weapons or its “Stand Your Ground” law, which never entered the legal proceeding — than to argue that the law was not properly applied in this case. The prosecution failed to prove Zimmerman guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Hence, the not-guilty verdict.

Many black commentators regret that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Ben Jealous, and others have made this case about race. Columnist Armstrong Williams declares, “… the Zimmerman case was not about race. Mr. Zimmerman is Hispanic, normally one of the protected minorities in America. In order to make the story about race, the New York Times and some other media outlets called him a ‘white’ Hispanic (his father is white and his mother is of Peruvian heritage).

“When was the last time anybody in America heard a Hispanic called a ‘white Hispanic?’ Calling Zimmerman a ‘white Hispanic’ is like calling Adam Clayton Powell or Barack Obama a ‘white black.’ But the media needed to create hysterics and so injected race into the equation to make it more salable to the American people as a political circus. After all, who cares about two white men or two black men in a fight that results in death.”

In Williams’ view, “A young man was killed by another young man under circumstances where there is so much racial static in the background that it’s difficult for many to be remotely objective…. Compare the reaction of the O.J. Simpson verdict by many American blacks to the reaction to the Zimmerman acquittal. In both cases, the prosecution did not make its case beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the defendant. Yet blacks generally cheered the result in the Simpson case, while viewing the Zimmerman verdict as a travesty of justice. In our court system of trial by jury, you can’t have it both ways. There cannot be a different standard for a white man killing a black man than for a black man killing a white man and a white woman.”
Liberal columnist Richard Cohen writes, “I don’t like what George Zimmerman did, and I hate that Trayvon Martin is dead. But I also can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize. I don’t know whether Zimmerman is a racist. But I’m tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the U.S., I am a racist.”

Cohen argues that, “What Zimmerman did was wrong. It was not, by a verdict of his peers, a crime. Where is the politician who will own up to the painful complexity of the problem and acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males? This does not mean that racism has disappeared, and some judgments are not the product of individual stereotyping. It does mean, though, that the public knows young black males commit a disproportionate amount of crime. In New York City, blacks make up a quarter of the population, yet they represent 78 percent of the shooting suspects — almost all of them young men. We know them from the nightly news.”

New York City’s Program
Those statistics represent the justification for New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk program, which amounts to a kind of racial profiling. “After all,” writes Cohen, “if young black male are your shooters, then it ought to be young black males whom the police stop and frisk. Still, common sense and common decency, not to mention the law, insist on other variables, such as suspicious behavior. Even still, race is a factor without a doubt. It would be senseless for the police to be stopping Danish tourists in Times Square just to make the statistics look good.”

Last year, the New York City Police Department recorded 419 homicides, nearly a 20 percent decrease from the year before and the lowest rate per 100,000 residents since the department began keeping statistics. If New York had the same homicide rate as Washington, D.C., it would be investigating 800 more murder cases for the year. If it had Detroit’s statistics, nearly 4,000 more New Yorkers would be murdered every year.

Editorially, The Washington Post states, “Without question, the Big Apple is doing something right.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Chief Raymond Kelley say the stop-and-frisk policy has saved 5,000 lives in the past 10 years. “New York has never been safer in its modern era,” the mayor says.

The policy, of course, is controversial and is the subject of a federal action lawsuit because the vast majority of those stopped are young men of color. Mayor Bloomberg responds: “They keep saying, ‘Oh, it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.’ That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder. In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”

Expressing the anguish of many who hate all forms of racism but are not prepared to turn a blind eye to the reality of urban crime, Richard Cohen concludes: “I wish I had a solution to this problem. If I were a young black male and were stopped just on account of my appearance, I would feel violated. If the police are abusing their authority and using race as the only reason, that has got to stop. But if they ignore race, then they are fools and ought to go into another line of work.”

Another liberal commentator, columnist Ruth Marcus, was particularly critical of those who compared Trayvon Martin with Emmett Till: “The comparison is unfair. No doubt race played a part in Martin’s death…. But there is no evidence that race played a role in Zimmerman’s acquittal. If anything, the racial undertones worked against Zimmerman, increasing public pressure on prosecutors to bring the most serious — and, in hindsight the most difficult to support — charges against him. Contrast the Zimmerman trial with that of Till’s murderers. The courtroom was segregated. No hotel would rent rooms to black observers. The local sheriff welcomed black spectators to the courtroom with what was described as a cheerful use of the vilest racial epithets. The New South is not perfect, but it is not the Old.”

The Greater Tragedy
What is rarely noted is the fact that vast majority of the victims of young black men who kill are other young black men and women. Those engaged in calling for marches and vigils to express outrage over the verdict in the Zimmerman case say hardly a word about the black-on-black crime that plagues the nation’s inner cities. In an interview with black journalist Juan Williams, comedian Bill Cosby noted that the NAACP’s headquarters is in Baltimore, a city with one of the highest murder rates in the nation. “I’ve never once heard the NAACP say, ‘Let’s do something about this,’” said Cosby, adding “They never marched or organized or even criticized the criminals.”

The over-heated declarations that our current society is similar to that in which Emmett Till was murdered in 1955 — or in which the Scottsboro Boys were convicted in 1933 — turns reality on its head. Al Sharpton doesn’t really believe it. Jesse Jackson knows it is untrue. Ben Jealous is unwilling to give up the public spotlight he receives by portraying such a false picture.

Those of us old enough to have lived through the years of segregation remember an era of segregated schools, segregated bus and train stations, “white” and “black” restrooms (visit the Pentagon and see the proliferation of rest rooms that were constructed in the years when it was illegal in Virginia for men and women of different races to use the same facilities), and water fountains reserved for “whites” and “colored.” In many parts of the country, blacks could not vote or sit on juries. Black travelers never knew when they would be able to stop for meals. There was no pretense that racial equality of any kind existed.

The Future Waits
Today, we live in an imperfect society, but one in which all citizens, regardless of race, have equal rights. It is against the law to discriminate on the basis of race. Men and women can go as far as their individual abilities can take them. Black Americans hold every conceivable position in our society — from CEO of major corporations to chief of police in major cities to university president to governor — to President of the United States.

None of this would be true if ours were indeed a “racist” society. This is not to say that in a society of more than 300 million people, examples of racism cannot sometimes be found. Using the trial of George Zimmerman to say that it is still 1933 or 1955, as some are now doing, is to paint a picture of contemporary society that cannot be recognized.

When it comes to the status of race relations in America today, who are we going to believe, shrill voices such as Al Sharpton, or our own eyes? The Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case has brought out the worst in some. The rest of us must move resolutely forward, continuing on the path of creating a genuinely color-blind society, which has long been the goal of men and women of good will of all races.

 

The Conservative Curmudgeon is copyright (c) 2013 by Allan C. Brownfeld and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, http://www.fgfbooks.com. All rights reserved. This column may be forwarded or re-posted if credit is given to the author and fgfBooks.com.

 

Allan C. Brownfeld is the author of five books, the latest of which is THE REVOLUTION LOBBY (Council for Inter-American Security). He has been a staff aide to a U.S. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.

See his biographical sketch and photo at: http://www.fgfbooks.com/AllanBrownfeld/aBrownfeld-bio.html

The Real Black-on-Black Crime: The Racial Grievance Industry

RACE BLUDGEON The Real Black on Black Crime: The Racial Grievance Industry

It’s been a week since the jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder for the killing of Trayvon Martin.  And it’s been that long since America has been unmercifully subjected to non –stop coverage of false indignation manifesting itself in “demonstrations,” self-righteous laments about the verdict’s implication, continued emotional manipulation of black Americans for political gain ($harpton, Jack$on, M$NBC, the NAACP, the president, Eric Holder, etc.) and so-called discussions about race and what it means to be “a black man in America.”

As a parenthetical, president Obama injecting himself- again- on Friday was particularly and expectedly disappointing.  Rather than saying something constructive, seeking to extend a sense of calm regarding the situation, he did the exact opposite.  But what else can one expect from a community organizer.

Now to be honest, all this talk about race is intentionally shortsighted, disingenuous to those who actually need to hear the tough talk surrounding race- namely black Americans, and self-serving of those who would benefit most- specifically the dishonest and soulless profiteers of the racial grievance industry.

And because of the proliferation of media attention regarding the “discussions about race” and its implications- especially in such a short period of time, I’m suffering from a diagnosed case of acute racial fatigue.

I’m sick and tired of hearing superficial “discussions” about race.  Especially when that talk implicates whites and infantilizes blacks.

Actually I’m sick of “race,” period.

I’m tired of Trayvon Martin being compared to Emmett Till- which by extension projects upon contemporary America a racial ethos similar to that of 1955. Martin was no Till, period.

I’m tired of hearing that Martin sacrificed his life or that he was some kind of martyr.  Please, already. Those making these comments deserved to be slapped and or openly ridiculed.

I’m tired of seeing the Rev. Martin Luther King photoshopped into a hoodie.  This is nothing short of repulsive and it denigrates the memory of Rev. King’s contribution to racial justice.  Our country shall forever be in debt to Rev. King; the same cannot and should not be said nor insinuated about Trayvon Martin.

I’m especially exhausted of hearing talk from condescending white progressives who enable and encourage blacks into maintaining their embrace (revelry) of the false narrative of victimization at the hands of “the system,” the amorphous, undefinable organism whose sole purpose is keeping blacks from “getting ahead.”

These embarrassing “demonstrations” happening across the county increase racial fatigue because those engaging in them do so at the expense of their dignity and credibility.  These people have willingly ignored the facts and evidence of this case in a grandstanding attempt to keep whites responsible (guilty) for perpetuating racial discrimination and at the same time obligated to perform penance of indeterminate length- defined by the racial grievance industry- with no assurance of absolution.

And they do all of this in light of the black-on-black crime that is much more destructive and prevalent in America than a “white Hispanic” killing a black male.

The whole charade is disgusting.

And I’m tired of it.

This trial wasn’t about race. Martin’s family and attorney admitted it; so did the defense.  The FBI’s investigation of this incident last year, which saw at least forty-five people interviewed, found absolutely no evidence of racial bias, further reinforcing the fact that Zimmerman’s actions- and this case- weren’t about race.

Martin wasn’t racially profiled; he was criminally profiled.  In the previous fourteen months prior to Zimmerman’s confrontation with Martin, the Retreat at Twin Lakes apartment complex had been burglarized eight times with all suspects being roughly the same height, build and color as Trayvon Martin.

Thus Martin wasn’t stalked or “hunted down like a rabid dog” because he was black.  Suspicion was raised because of his questionable behavior and because he fit a very specific criminal profile, evidenced by testimony given under oath.

The verdict isn’t an indictment of America being racist toward blacks in general or black males specifically.  All insinuations or outright declarations made by “demonstrators,” the media, so-called public intellectuals or the president himself are bull$#!t.

Blacks aren’t helpless victims abused by “the system” and the facts point that out.  The reason that blacks-specifically black males- are disproportionally represented in the criminal justice system is because we commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime.  Period.

According to FBI statistics in 2011, of the 2,938 murder offenders counted that year, 1803 were black.

The total number of black murders regardless of age in 2011 was 2695. Of that number, 2447 were committed by blacks.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, of all homicides committed between 1980 and 2008, 47.4 percent of the victims were black while 52.5 percent of all offenders were black. Of all felony murders during the same time period, blacks accounted for 44.1 percent of those murdered while accounting for 59.9 percent of the offenders.  Blacks accounted for 56.9 percent of all gun homicides.

Blacks are complicit in their own demise.  The “system” that blacks “fear” which they claim is out to get them are in reality, blacks themselves.

Not whites.

In other words, there are too many black and progressive fingers pointed out and not enough pointed inward.

But you won’t hear any of this mentioned by the proprietors of the racial grievance industry because there’s no political capital to be gained, no emotions to be exploited and no whites to morally indict as racists.

And it’s a damn shame.

Does racism exist?  Yes, of course.  Especially among blacks.

Does racial discrimination exist?  Yes and both will continue to do so on this side of heaven.

But for blacks and their enablers to continue to foment this notion that racism is America’s number one problem is self-defeating, it’s immoral and it’s a lie.

Especially in light of a recent Gallup poll that says otherwise.

Blacks have no idea how irresponsible and embarrassing they look in regards to their behavior.  And I fear very soon, they will be called on their Dream-killing, commodification and idolization of race.

By then, I hope I’ve recovered from race fatigue.

Photo: Standard Compliant

Supreme Court Breaks Up A First Rate, Election Rigging Scheme

US Supreme Court room SC Supreme Court Breaks up a first rate, election rigging scheme

Justice Antonin Scalia shocked liberal sensibilities during oral arguments in the recently decided Shelby County, Alabama v Holder voting rights case. Providing his analysis of the 98-0, 2006 Senate vote to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act (VRA) for an additional 25 years, Scalia said:

Now, I don’t think [the lop-sided vote] is attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this [law]. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.

In short, Scalia was suggesting that no politician in his right mind would vote AGAINST a law entitled the Voting Rights Act as charges of racism would begin immediately and threaten to destroy his political career. Never mind the senator in question might be completely justified in opposing outdated and unconstitutional sections of the Act. Scalia’s conclusion: justice in this instance would depend upon the courts.

But “perpetuation of racial entitlement?” George Soros’ left-wing Think Progress website wrote “…there were audible gasps in the Supreme Court’s lawyers’ lounge…” when Scalia’s statement came over the room’s audio system. Surely, the Justice was not suggesting that the Voting Rights Act had created or sustained some sort of inherently unfair, electoral advantage for minority voters!

Well, that’s exactly what Antonin Scalia was suggesting. And though the left obviously finds no fault in it, that’s what the VRA has been doing for decades.

The Voting Rights Act requires certain states and jurisdictions to obtain pre-clearance from the DOJ or the DC Circuit Court prior to making any changes in their voting policies or procedures. In 2000, the Supreme Court decided Reno v Bossier, a case in which Janet Reno’s Department of Justice had denied pre-clearance to the Bossier Parish, Louisiana School Board, which had been required to redraw Parish voting districts as a result of changes in the 1990 census.

The plan offered by the School Board was a duplicate to the redistricting plan submitted to the DOJ by the Parish governing body a short time earlier. That plan had been accepted by the Justice Department, and the pre-clearance requirement was satisfied. But the DOJ denied the School Board plan. The reason?

The local NAACP office had presented an alternative plan to the Bossier Parish School Board that would have created 2 majority black voting districts. In order to accomplish this objective, it would have been necessary to split 46 of the existing voting districts 65 times, fracturing state election law by gerrymandering precincts throughout Bossier Parish.

It was the Board’s refusal to adopt the NAACP offering that prompted the DOJ to reject the School Board’s redistricting plan. For it was the DOJ’s contention that merely preserving existing minority voting strength—which the School Board plan did—was not enough. Rather, it must be incumbent upon all bodies seeking pre-clearance to “…maximize such voting strength according to a hypothetical ideal.”

In short, it is not enough that the 9 states and numerous jurisdictions subject to DOJ pre-clearance rules see to it that minority voters are treated fairly. Rather, they must be virtually guaranteed the electoral success of preferred candidates and ballot issues! It is the only way in which new election law—Voter ID laws, for example—may be instituted.

The Supreme Court agreed with Bossier Parish, ruling that the DOJ could NOT “…deny pre-clearance to local redistricting plans that maintain minority voting strength, even if they do not maximize such voting strength according to a hypothetical ideal.” But how many jurisdictions have not sued the DOJ over the 50 years in which the Voting Rights Act has been in effect? How many have been intimidated into making certain that minorities have their way at polling places across the nation?

The left has good reason to demonize the Court over its 5-4 decision in Shelby County v Holder. After all, with the VRA selection process for pre-clearance ruled unconstitutional, 9 states and dozens of jurisdictions in 7 others will at last have an opportunity to run honest elections. And nothing does more damage to the left than an honest election.

Photo Credit: kenudigit (Creative Commons)
 

Taxpayers Fuel Democrat Party Corruption

Democrat Recycling Program SC Taxpayers Fuel Democrat Party Corruption

Earlier this month, President Obama traveled to California to tout the state’s progress implementing ObamaCare as a model; but a look behind the curtain finds it is a model for corruption and cronyism.

While other states that have accepted ObamaCare have specifically stated that their health care exchanges are covered by open-records laws, California is purposefully hiding how hundreds of millions in taxpayer money is being spent.  When the California legislature created the agency to oversee its creation of a government health care exchange, it included a provision that would conceal spending on the contractors from public disclosure and scrutiny for one year. The California code now reads, “Except for the portion of a contract that contains the rates of payment, contracts entered into pursuant to this title shall be open to inspection one year after their effective dates.”

The legislature has allocated nearly $1 billion to implement the exchange, with $458 million to be allocated to vendors by the end of 2014.  These vendors will include law firms (many with connections to the highest level of California government); salaries for bureaucrats, consultants and public relations advisors; and most troubling, the pockets of liberal groups.  In liberal speak, that’s called “outreach.”

Terry Francke, head of California Aware, an organization working to ensure public access to government meetings and information, believes the law violates the state’s constitutional requirement that explicit exclusions from the open record law must be “necessary” to protect “powers and obligations to negotiate on behalf of the public.”  With the legislature providing no supporting evidence of the need to keep their contracts secret, Mr. Francke asked, “Why couldn’t the exchange do its job without this secrecy? What’s the worst that could happen?”

We now know.  The first round of grants have been awarded, and many of them were given directly to the treasuries of liberal political groups that have nothing to do with health care.  The NAACP received $600,000 for canvassing.  The AFL-CIO got $1 million to go door-to-door. And another union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), got $2 million for a phone campaign.  Sprinkle in the fact that the legislature also required registration to be a function of the health care exchange, and we have all the elements of a massive political scandal — all paid for by the taxpayers.

Led by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), five United States Senators, all members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, are asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate. “We see no reason why a state that has been awarded nearly $910 million in federal taxpayer dollars should not disclose how that money is being spent once a contract is finalized,” they wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

California’s effort to conceal its ObamaCare contracts may be problematic, but the real scandal appears to be the cronyism and corruption inherent when government hands out half a billion dollars to their friends, benefactors, and political allies.

Photo credit: terrellaftermath

Congressman Invites Obama To Join Him

Steve Stockman official portrait Congressman Invites Obama To Join Him

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Stockman (R-Texas 36) encouraged his Republican and Democrat colleagues to join him in signing a letter to President Barack Obama marking the 55th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic NAACP v. Alabama ruling, and condemning any unlawful harassment of political groups because of the content of their political speech.

The letter also asks Obama to prosecute any Executive Branch officials engaging in any attempt to unlawfully harass a political group or demand a list of its members.

“On June 30, 1958 the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear the Executive Branch has no lawful authority to target political groups based simply on the content of their speech.  Not only is it unconstitutional, it is a frontal assault on the very founding principles of this Republic,” said Stockman.  “History has a way of repeating itself and I urge Republicans, Democrats and President Obama to stand with me in defense of those rights protected from government officials by the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.”

Members of Congress have until June 29 to sign on to the letter, which will be sent to the White House on June 30.  The text of the letter to members of Congress, and the letter to Obama, follow.

 

Dear Colleague,

June 30th of this year marks the 55th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in NAACP v. Alabama.  In that ruling the Court struck down an attempt by state Executive Branch employees to harass a political group because they disagreed with the content of its speech.

Please join me in sending a letter to President Obama asking him to join us in marking this historic anniversary, as well as in condemning any similar unconstitutional attempt by the Executive to use its authority to target political groups for harassment.

To sign on to this letter, or should you have any questions, please contact Senior Communications Adviser Donny Ferguson at Donny@mail.house.gov.  The text of the letter follows.

Warmest wishes,

STEVE STOCKMAN
Member of Congress

June 30, 2013

President Obama:

Fifty-five years ago today the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, NAACP v. Alabama, upholding Americans’ rights of free speech and free association.

As you recall, Alabama sought to enjoin the state’s NAACP from operating by declaring it in violation of the state’s corporate laws. The state then issued an order for a list of the group’s members.

Clearly, the state’s Executive branch was harassing a group because they disagreed with its political views.

The case was eventually brought to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled Alabama violated the NAACP’s rights of free speech and free association.

Justice John Marshall Harlan II, writing for the majority, declared that without an “overriding valid interest” any attempt by government officials to discourage groups from engaging in speech or political activity is unconstitutional.  According to the Court, the “advancement of beliefs and ideas” is protected from baseless harassment by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Executive Branch officials had no lawful authority to target the organization, or to demand it reveal its finances or membership.

We are sure you agree any action by a government employee to harass political groups, simply because they disagree with their speech, constitutes deprivation “of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” as stated in the Fourteenth Amendment.

We encourage you to join us in honoring that historic fight to protect the freedoms of speech and association.  We hope you will demonstrate your commitment to a federal government that upholds those rights protected from government by the First and Fourteenth amendments.

History has a way of repeating itself.  In light of the Court’s NAACP v. Alabama ruling we also hope you will hold responsible any federal official or employee who attempts to chill the speech simply because of its content — including cooperation with any investigation or prosecution of such unconstitutional actions.

Warmest wishes,

STEVE STOCKMAN
Member of Congress