We're up before the West Coast dawn this morning to monitor the hearings in the U.S. House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties featuring John "Minorities Die First" Tanner. His recent objectionable comments were originally video-taped and reported by The BRAD BLOG several weeks ago.
The most objectionable of those comments including his contention that it was a "shame" that elderly voters might be disenfranchised by a 2005 Georgia Photo ID poll restriction that he approved on behalf of DoJ and against the advice of four out of five of his career staffers, minorities would somehow benefit from it. His twisted reasoning was that "because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way white people do. They die first."
Tanner, incredibly, is still the Chief of the Voting Section in the DoJ's Civil Rights Division.
Major points in our story so far...
- 10/8/07: BRAD BLOG video exclusive of objectionable comments made on 10/5/07 (thereafter picked up far and wide in the media).
- 10/9/07: Tanner's former colleagues say comments "false", "ludicrous", "cherry-picked".
- 10/12/07: Conyers pissed off about comments, and Tanner's earlier whitewashed "investigation" of Ohio 2004 election.
- 10/19/07: Obama writes Acting AG to demand Tanner be fired.
- 10/19/07: DoJ defends Tanner to AP. Says comments "grossly misconstrued".
- 10:24/07: Rep. Nadler says "obviously, he should be fired"
- 10:26/07: Kennedy writes Mukasey, asking if he'll review Tanner's record to consider firing if he's confirmed.
- 10/29/07: DNC calls for "immediate firing" of Tanner.
- 10/29/07: Tanner apologizes (sort of) for comments.
Beyond that, Progress Report has an excellent round up of Tanner's "Erosion of Voter Rights" during his tenure.
The hearings have now ended, but our notes from our Live-Blogging of today's hearings are below, along with video clips of the key, and most pointed exchanges...