PILF Participates in U.S. Civil Rights Commission Panels

Christian Adams, Board Members Discuss Minority Voting Access in NC

(RALEIGH, NC.) – February 2, 2018: Leadership for the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) will participate in panels hosted by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding minority voting access today.

PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams, Board Chairman Cleta D. Mitchell, and Board Member Hans A. von Spakovsky were invited to discuss a wide range of topics, to include “voter access, including federal voting rights enforcement efforts after the 2006 reauthorization of the temporary provisions of the VRA, and the impact of the Shelby County v. Holder decision on the Department of Justice’s enforcement strategies and priorities,” according to a USCCR release.

Excerpts from the PILF representatives’ prepared statements are provided below.

“One of the most effective ways to preserve the viability of civil rights laws is to remove partisan politics from civil rights enforcement. As soon as a sizeable segment of the public believes that civil rights laws are being leveraged for partisan ends, a sizeable segment of the public will stop supporting civil rights. The Voting Rights Act has enjoyed broad bipartisan support for decades. But if enforcement of the law is hijacked by partisan interests, the law will lose this bipartisan support.”

J. Christian Adams, PILF President and General Counsel

This Commission, with all due respect, should be about the business of gathering facts, not perpetuating myths … The recent history of litigation involving North Carolina election laws shows that the present system is working, where interest groups and litigants are having their day in court and getting their way, even when the empirical evidence discloses that minority voter turnout is not harmed by enactment of voter integrity measures. Even without preclearance requirements, federal law and the U.S. Constitution are wholly adequate to protect the right to vote.”

Cleta D. Mitchell, Foley & Lardner Partner and PILF Board Chairman

“A review of the litigation record of the Voting Section during the administrations of Bush and Obama shows a sharp, overall downward trend in the number of enforcement actions filed by the Justice Department under the various provisions of the [Voting Rights Act] from 2001 to 2016, including after 2013, the year Shelby County was decided … [F]ive years after Shelby County, there is still no evidence of widespread, systemic, official discrimination by any of the formerly covered jurisdictions or any other state.”

Hans A. von Spakovsky, Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow and PILF Board Member

Von Spakovsky is slated to testify on the panel titled: Scope and Efficacy of Department of Justice Voting Rights Act Enforcement. Adams will follow with the Litigator’s Perspective of Laws Affecting Voter Access since Shelby session. Mitchell will finish with the Voter Access panel.

The Commission hearings will commence today in Raleigh, North Carolina. Location details are provided by the USCCR and a livestream of the events are will be available on the Commission’s YouTube channel beginning at 9:00am Eastern. An open comment period will commence around 6:00pm Eastern.

Apart from her duties with PILF, Cleta Mitchell is an attorney / partner in the Washington office of Foley & Lardner LLP, who practices in the area of campaign finance and election law. She has served on the Advisory Committee to the Standing Committee on Election Law of the American Bar Association, and as a member of the working group on Election Contests for the American Law Institute. She is a former member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives where she served for eight years.

Hans A. von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. As manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative, von Spakovsky also studies and writes about campaign finance restrictions, voter fraud and voter ID, enforcement of federal voting rights laws, administration of elections and voting equipment standards.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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