The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

Friday, September 14, 2018


I posted on Wednesday about the claim that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ new voting rights report was adopted “unanimously.” The claim was made in the Commission’s press release and in the Chair’s transmission letter to President Trump. But as I wrote in the post:

This is technically true, but highly misleading. My mother died about an hour before the telephonic meeting at which the vote was taken, so I was unable to call in. As I wrote in my Commissioner Statement, if I had been present, “I would have voted no.” I believe the same is true of my colleague Peter Kirsanow, who was stuck in a deposition at the time. Only Commissioners appointed by Democrats voted to approve the report.

The New York Times story parrots the claim of unanimity. But it does so in a way that is not even technically true. Under the headline, Protection of Voting Rights for Minorities Has Fallen Sharply, a New Report Finds, it states that the report’s “key recommendations were unanimously supported by the commission’s eight members—six Democrats and two Republicans.” That is just plain false.


This is my colleague, the inimitable Gail Heriot.

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