Investigation

Biden Nominees Torpedo Own Confirmation To Kill Report On Whether Lax Crime Policies Hurt Minorities

Democrats "double cross" Republicans to block an examination of whether lax-on-crime policies have a disparate impact on minorities who disproportionately become the victims of crime.

   DailyWire.com
Victoria Nourse and Rochelle Garza / US Commission on Civil Rights
Victoria Nourse and Rochelle Garza / US Commission on Civil Rights

A federal civil rights commission meeting devolved into chaos last week as Democrats went to great lengths to block a study on whether crime disproportionately impacts minorities — and, by implication, whether soft-on-crime policies create a civil rights issue by subjecting poor blacks to high crime rates. 

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights consists of eight commissioners, four liberals and four conservatives. But Republicans say Democrats “double-crossed” them by breaking a deal they had made to vote for the report. 

“Frankly, the four of us feel like we were chumps, that we agreed to the anti-Asian briefing on the condition that we also have a crime victims” report, conservative commissioner Gail Heriot said Friday. 

“We were double-crossed, plain and simple,” Republican Commissioner Christian Adams added. The question of who suffers from crime is “an issue that has broad agreement is an important issue in the United States, and it is not a difficult lift,” he said. “I don’t think it’s even controversial.”

Democrats were so adamant in blocking the study on crime victims — which applies standard Democrat logic about any policy that results in “disproportionalities” being evidence of a policy’s racism — that two Democrats newly nominated to the commission by President Joe Biden refused to rectify the “double-crossing” by their predecessors even though they knew it meant their confirmation as chair and vice chair would be blocked.

On Friday, the Commission voted not to confirm the people Biden nominated on April 6: Georgetown Law professor Victoria Nourse as vice chair and Rochelle Garza, a former Democrat candidate for Texas Attorney General, as chair.

In November, Democrat commissioners attempted to derail a proposal — which Republicans said was written by their nonpartisan staff — to study who was hurt by crime in cities like New York.

Then-Chair Norma Cantu threw out a series of objections to it, ranging from comparing it to the Tuskegee Experiments — in which the U.S. let blacks die of syphilis — to expressing concern about the “Paperwork Reduction Act.”

The Commission has recently searched for racist policies as evidenced by “disproportionate” outcomes in a wide variety of arenas, from the “Civil Rights Implications of Disaster Relief” to “Racial Disparities in Maternal Health.” It has viewed it as its mission to invoke civil-rights protections for criminal offenders, like “The Civil Rights Implications of Cash Bail.”

But Heriot said she was told that “over my dead body will we even look into the increase in crime” as it relates to whether minorities are disproportionately crime victims.

“I’m Staff Director Morales. You may not like me, but please respect the office,” he ordered Adams.

Shortly after reneging on their word to hold a vote on approving the crime victims report, the four Democrats rotated off the commission, their six-year terms having come to an end. They were replaced with four new Democrats, but under the law, the nominees for chair and vice chair can only assume those titles if a majority of the commission consents.

With no chair in place, a staff member who is supposed to simply work for the commissioners improperly “usurped” control to advance a Democrat agenda in the otherwise evenly-divided body, Republicans said. Mauro Morales, a former Obama administration official, is staff director of the commission and is tasked with carrying out the will of the commissioners. 

Morales declined to place a vote on the crime victims study on the agenda for Friday’s meeting, while insisting that the commission vote to confirm the chair and vice chair. 

Though he began the meeting by saying “I am not substantively participating in this meeting, but because of the current absence of a chair and vice chair, I will be administering it pursuant to our administrative functions,” he was soon barking orders at Republican commissioners.

“I’m Staff Director Morales. You may not like me, but please respect the office,” he ordered Adams.

“Turn off your mic,” he told Heriot. “You can answer when I’m finished.” 

Morales said he had the authority to set the agenda because “Under our statute, the chair and the staff director create the agenda for the commission.”

But the statute actually says that “The Chairperson, after consulting with the Staff Director, shall establish the agenda.”

“The staff director is not authorized to establish the agenda, and nobody is authorized to say look we’re going to shove this down your throat,” Heriot said of the confirmation vote.

Republicans said that under the commission’s practices, in the absence of a confirmed chair, the most senior member serves as acting chair — which in this case would be Pete Kirsanow, a Republican.

Republican Commissioner Peter Kirsanow / US Commission on Civil Rights

Republican Commissioner Peter Kirsanow / U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Kirsanow lambasted Morales for commandeering the meeting. “Mr. Staff Director! On what authority are you directing Commissioner Heriot to vote?” he exclaimed. “You are staff director. Not the commission director!”

Morales told her she could negotiate over the crime victims report after confirming the chair, though Heriot noted “this is the only time we have leverage” and Nourse indicated that she would oppose the report.

Democrats and Morales repeatedly used parliamentary tactics to try to block a vote on the crime victims report and force a confirmation vote, with Nourse repeatedly lecturing that she was a law professor who was close with Biden, contending that “my intern” was the associate Attorney General, and suggesting that the “Constitution” meant that Republicans had to vote for her. When Heriot asked for her to elaborate, she threw her arms up in a shrug. 

“It’s no secret that I worked for the president in the White House when he was VP as his chief lawyer,” she said. “I know the folks in the White House are watching. There’s a reason they asked me to be here.”

After it was clear that Democrats were refusing to approve the crime victims vote even though it meant Republicans would not confirm them, Republicans tried to end the meeting to spare them the “embarrassment” of rejecting their confirmation. 

“This is an example of how the Republican members have been accommodating over and over,” Adams said.

“If we reject these nominations, which I think is what we’re going to have to do, the White House is going to have to do that all again,” Heriot said.

But Garza forced them to vote, with Morales exclaiming “Just vote!”

The confirmations of Garza and Nourse were voted down, but the report examining whether poor minorities bear the brunt of policies like those espoused by billionaire George Soros’ favored district attorneys also remained shelved.

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