J. Christian Adams Appointed to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Published On: August 11th, 2020

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – August 11, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) released a statement today acknowledging President Donald J. Trump’s appointment of J. Christian Adams to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

PILF President J. Christian Adams:

“I am humbled by President Trump appointing me to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission has a long, noble history of serving as a defender of civil rights – from ending Jim Crow to ensuring that the promises of the Civil War amendments are fulfilled. This nation endured a ferocious upheaval to enact the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. All of the sunk wealth and calamity of a civil war were a high price indeed for these three amendments. We owe it to the generation that made them possible to fulfill the aims of these amendments. But we also owe the generations before that one, the ones that secured the blessings of liberty and domestic tranquility – the rights to worship, to speak freely without fear of violence, and the right to pursue a living – to preserve those rights. 

“This hard year has refocused many Americans on basic civil rights we had long taken for granted. The right to assemble and worship, the right to be free from excessive force, the right of self-defense, and the right to pursue the American Dream no matter if you live in Fairfax, Virginia, coal country Pennsylvania, or the south side of Chicago.

“I have a demonstrated history of defending the civil rights of Americans regardless of skin color. I have brought and won civil rights cases that others would not – from Guam, to Mississippi, to defending the integrity of our elections. Everyone is entitled to civil rights and too many for too long have had a too narrow view of that question. I hope to use my time on the Commission to reinvigorate a broader understanding of what our great Constitution has promised is a civil right. Every American should be free to pursue their dreams. In 2020, we see how those rights can be threatened in ways we did not imagine just a decade ago. From free speech, to the right to run a business in Minneapolis, from the right to gather in church, to the right to support candidates for office free from fear, 2020 has presented new challenges and therefore new obligations on those who defend civil rights.”

Civil Rights Litigation and Background

  • Served as an attorney at the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting Section from 2005 to 2010. 
  • Received the Department’s Special Commendation for Outstanding Service on October 23, 2008 for work on voting rights cases. 
  • At DOJ, litigated case against Georgetown County, South Carolina, School Board for violations of the Voting Rights Act in county with 38% black population and no representation on school board elected at-large. Case successfully resulted in creation of at least two majority minority districts. Black candidates who could not win a seat on the school board now hold seats.
  • Also at DOJ, litigated case against Town of Lake Park, extending protections of Voting Rights Act to small towns. Lake Park had black population in excess of 40% and at large town council election that resulted in minority candidates losing every election. 
  • Also at DOJ, successfully litigated the landmark case of United States v. Ike Brown in the Southern District of Mississippi, the first case brought under the Voting Rights Act on behalf of a discriminated-against white minority.
  • Other cases at the Department of Justice:

United States v. Ike Brown, 494 F.Supp.2d 440 (S.D. Miss. 2007).

United States v. Ike Brown, 561 F.3d 420 (5th Cir. 2009)(work on successful appeal of USDC).

United States v. Georgetown County School District, et al, (D.S.C., Case No: 2:08-889).

United States v. Town of Lake Park (S.D.Fl., Case No. 9-80505).

United States v. Alabama, et al. (M.D. Ala., Case No. 2:08-920).

United States v. Vermont, et al., (D. Vermont, Case No.:2:08-217)

United States v. Post Independent School District, (N.D. Tex, Case No.: 5:07-146)(Spanish)

United States v. City of Segraves ISD, (N.D. Tex., Case No.: 5:07-147)(Spanish)

United States v. Smyer ISD, (N.D. Tex., Case No.: 5:07-148)(Spanish)

United States v. City of Earth, (N.D. Tex., Case No.: 5:07-144)(Spanish)

United States v. Littlefield ISD, (N.D. Tex., Case No.: 5:07-145)(Spanish).

United States v. New Black Panther Party (E.D.Pa. 2009)

Bartlett v. Strickland, 556 U.S. 1 (2009)

  • He brought the first private party litigation resulting in the cleanup of corrupted voter rolls under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
  • When none of the “traditional” civil rights groups would take his case, represented United States Air Force Major (Ret.) Arnold “Dave” Davis who was not allowed to register to vote in a Guam election because he did not have the right ancestry. (Davis v. Guam). Guam enacted a status plebiscite that limited the vote to “native inhabitants” or their blood relatives. Adams took the case pro bono when none of the civil rights groups cared to help him. After multiple trips to Guam, the case was filed. After losing on a motion to dismiss for lack of ripeness in the United States District Court of Guam, the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Davis, holding that the law violated the protections of the right to vote free from racial discrimination in the 15th Amendment, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. (Davis v. Guam 932 F.3d 822 (9th Cir. 2019). The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in 2020, ending a decade long case that Adams undertook in 2010.
  • Brought cases under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to clean voter rolls against multiple states and counties including Indiana, Ohio, counties in Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan. 
  • Represented four presidential campaigns in ballot access litigation in Virginia in 2012.
  • Appointed to Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in 2017.
  • He is the author of a New York Times bestseller about civil rights and civil rights enforcement, Injustice (Regnery, 2011).
  • Was General Counsel to the South Carolina, Secretary of State.
  • University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D. 1993.  West Virginia University, B.A., 1990.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is leading the nation in enforcing election integrity laws and the National Voter Registration Act, having brought cases in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, Florida, Mississippi, and Maine and filed amicus briefs in litigation across the nation.

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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