Conservatives' "wild notion" to "topple" the Obama admin. resumes at Civil Rights Commission

Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Abigail Thernstrom, the Republican vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has said that the commission's hearings into the Justice Department were part of the "fantasies" conservatives on the commission had to "topple" the Obama administration and their "wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president."

This "wild notion" resumed today with the testimony of Christopher Coates, a Justice Department attorney reportedly identified as "a true member of the team" in the highly politicized Bush Justice Department, who has donated to conservative candidates including President Bush.

Earlier this week, Coates agreed to testify before the conservative-dominated U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which has been investigating the accusation aggressively promoted by right-wing activists deeply connected to the highly politicized Bush Justice Department that the Justice Department under Obama and Holder has "a hostility" toward enforcing voting-rights laws "on behalf of white victims for the benefit of national racial minorities."

The accusation that this is DOJ policy is in no way sustainable given the actual actions of the Justice Department.

UPDATE: During Coates' testimony, Thernstrom yielded the entirety of her time to Democratic Commissioner Michael Yaki, who has opposed the commission's inquiry.

UPDATE: During his testimony, Coates criticized "many of the civil rights groups" that he claimed often act as "special interest lobbies for racial and ethnic minorities."

Discussing his decision to transfer from the DOJ's Civil Rights Division to the U.S. attorney's office, Coates claimed:

If Senator McCain had won the election, and he had left me in, and his people had let me in as chief of the voting section, and there had been good relations between us, then I would have stayed on as chief of the voting section for a while longer.

Coates testified that in 2005 he recommended further investigation into alleged intimidation of black voters in Mississippi by state officials, but that Bradley Schlozman -- the Bush official who was found to have improperly politicized personnel decisions at the DOJ -- chose not to follow Coates' recommendation. That decision did not ignite a "scandal."

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