Says 'Administration is Simply Shuffling Deck Chairs' by Moving John 'Minorities Die First' Tanner to New Post in Same Division
Conyers and Nadler Also Issue Statement, More Upbeat, Hopeful About Resignation of Tanner
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2007, 4:19pm PT  

A spokesman for Barack Obama (D-IL) sent us a statement decrying John Tanner's announced resignation today from his post as Chief of the DoJ Civil Rights Division's voting section, charging that his move to another post within the Civil Rights division amounts to little more than "simply shuffling deck chairs."

Obama had previously called upon the Attorney General to fire Tanner outright for his offensive, and inaccurate remarks, as first reported by The BRAD BLOG, that minorities "don't grow elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Obama's statement in full...

"It's unacceptable that the Administration is simply shuffling deck chairs by moving Mr. Tanner to another important position in the Justice Department. During his tenure, he made offensive, intolerant comments about minorities in an attempt to defend voter identification laws that threaten voting rights, and that's why I called on him to be fired. It's time we restore confidence in the Department by appointing public servants who are truly committed to upholding our civil rights."

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, joins Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on the other hand, in applauding the removal of Tanner from his post, saying in a statement (posted in full below) that "John Tanner’s resignation as Voting Section Chief at the Department of Justice provides the department with an opportunity to renew its commitment to the real problems facing voters and elections."

"I am hopeful that Mr. Tanner’s replacement will mark a departure from efforts to limit the participation of elderly and minority voters, and actually serve to remove obstacles to participation in the political process," said the elderly, but not-dead, African-American Congressman and voter from Michigan.

The complete statement from Conyers and Nadler follows below in full...

For Immediate Release: December 14, 2007

Conyers and Nadler Applaud Resignation of Voting Section Chief Tanner

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties today remarked on the resignation of John Tanner as Chief of the Justice Department’s Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division.

“John Tanner’s resignation as Voting Section Chief at the Department of Justice provides the department with an opportunity to renew its commitment to the real problems facing voters and elections,” said Conyers. “Under the current administration, the Department of Justice has a remarkably poor record of protecting voting rights. I am hopeful that Mr. Tanner’s replacement will mark a departure from efforts to limit the participation of elderly and minority voters, and actually serve to remove obstacles to participation in the political process.”

“Mr. Tanner had a clear record of undermining the core mission of the section – protecting the right to vote,” said Nadler. “In October, my subcommittee held an investigation of the Section, where it became clear that Mr. Tanner was actively seeking to curtail that cornerstone of American democracy. The right to vote is the foundation of all our liberties and it must be protected. The departure of Mr. Tanner presents an opportunity for a fresh start of the Voting Section. I urge the Bush Administration to take this opportunity to take politics out of voting rights enforcement by appointing a new chief with a commitment to the letter and the spirit of the Voting Rights Act.”

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