Posted on | July 17, 2010 | 5 Comments
That’s the question raised by the Ben Smith column at Politico in which Abigail Thernstrom accuses her fellow Republican members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission of exploiting the Black Panther voter-intimidation case in pursuit of “their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama] administration.”
Thernstrom herself is well-known as a critic of race-based quotas in education and so she caused a stir a couple weeks ago when she declared in National Review that prosecution of the Panther case was a fool’s errand. What struck me in the Politico column was this:
“Millions of people saw the clip on Fox News and YouTube,” said Todd Gaziano, a commissioner who has been the driving force behind the commission’s investigation. “Any reasonable American knows this is voter intimidation. And so the dismissal itself of an infamous case where there’s footage is more damaging to people’s perception of the rule of law than a dismissal when nobody’s paying attention.”
OK, so the question naturally occurs, Who is Todd Gaziano? He is the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal & Judicial Studies:
Todd Gaziano focuses on legal and judicial reform and such constitutional issues as ensuring that all citizens are accorded equal treatment under the law. Before joining former Attorney General Edwin Meese at The Heritage Foundation in 1997, Mr. Gaziano served under noted conservative leaders in all three branches of the federal government. He was Chief Counsel to the House Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs, where he worked on government-wide regulatory reform legislation for Chairman David McIntosh. He served in the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Justice Department, which provides advice on constitutional and legal issues to the President, the Attorney General, and other Cabinet Secretaries. He also served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Edith H. Jones, United States Judge for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Gaziano received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was selected as a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics.
It’s not like Gaziano is a redneck hayseed who just fell off the turnip truck. Anyone wondering why so many conservatives have made a cause célèbre of the Panthers case can stop wondering: If Gaziano is a longtime associate of Ed Meese, he’s almost certainly good friends with Mark Levin, who is in turn friends with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. So his influence is not insignificant.
Gaziano’s argument is interesting: The Panther case is important because the widely-seen video made it so “infamous” that Eric Holder’s dismissal of the case is “damaging to people’s perception of the rule of law.” If nothing else, that makes Gaziano a leading endorsee of Professor Glenn Reynolds’ ubiquitous video camera argument.
At the very least, since Fox now owns this story, will Megyn Kelly have Thernstrom on next week?
Ouch! Stop twisting my arm! I know you want me to re-post that Megyn Kelly/Kirsten Powers catfight video:
UPDATE: Remember that the Panther case got renewed attention after PJM published this column by DOJ whistleblower Christian Adams.