WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 15 (EIRNS)--Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, of the U.S. District Court, urinated on the Voting Rights Act today, in a decision claiming that the Democratic National Committee, and DNC Chairman Donald Fowler, do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act. The action came in response to the suit filed by Lyndon LaRouche and voters from Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., claiming that their rights had been violated by Fowler's rulings.
"Fowler's attorneys made a racist appeal to the Judge, claiming that the DNC did not have to have their decisions precleared for possible racial bias, and the judge went with it," a LaRouche spokesman said in response to the ruling. "President Clinton should fire Fowler, or the word will go out that the Democratic Party leadership is in bed with a bunch of racists."
LaRouche and his co-plaintiffs are considering what their next legal move will be.
The court hearing today featured argument by attorneys Jack Keeney, Jr. for the DNC, Thomas Byron for the Democratic Parties of Louisiana and Virginia, Jack Young for the Democratic Party of Virginia, and Steve Ross for the Texas Democratic Party. Representing LaRouche's argument, and the voters, were Odin Anderson, LaRouche's personal attorney, James Wilson of Alabama, Theo Mitchell of South Carolina, and local counsel Nina Ginsburg.
Judge Jackson refused to appoint a three-judge panel, which a suit under the Voting Rights Act requires. The hour-long hearing today focussed on the defendants' motion to dismiss, and the plaintiffs' argument that such a panel should be appointed.
Fowler's lawyer Jack Keeney led off, summarizing the argument for dismissal of the case on the basis that:
the DNC and its chairman are not covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act; and
internal party rules over who can participate, are political matters for the party to decide, not the courts.
He cited a series of Supreme Court decisions, footnotes, and so forth, in support of his argument. He claimed that the states who carried out Fowler's orders also could not be sued, because they were not under the proper kind of jurisdiction.
Ignoring the facts of the discrimination against LaRouche, and those who voted for him, Keeney insisted that every time the courts had ordered a party to seat a delegate, they had been reversed, and that the courts had no right to intervene into privately funded, privately held political party functions.
This is precisely the same kind of argument that was made under Jim Crow, in an attempt to keep African-Americans from exercising their rights. A prime example of such practices, was the Texas "white primary," which was only rectified after the Voting Rights Act forced the Texas Democratic Party to preclear its internal party rules with the U.S. Department of Justice. The only difference now, is that it is the Democratic Party's national leadership, and not just a state party, which is enforcing the racist party rules.
Attorney Byron waxed even more eloquent on the right to bigotry--claiming the "sanctity of national parties." He also claimed that there would be "irreparable harm" to the state parties if they had to seat the (duly elected) LaRouche delegates.
Attorney Young added the argument that LaRouche was not qualified to vote, and that both Democratic party rule 11K (which gives Fowler his dictatorial power to determine who is a legitimate candidate), and the Virginia Party plan, list voter registration as a requirement for running for office. Young's argument, that LaRouche should never have been qualified to be a candidate under these rules, did not address the fact that the Virginia Party had in fact accepted him as a candidate in the caucus process.
(Mr. LaRouche remains unable to vote until he has been fully exonerated from the fraudulent conviction which sent him to federal prison for five years. Over 700 elected state officials, and many other prominent individuals both here and abroad, have signed a petition calling upon President Clinton to exonerate LaRouche, and, thereby, to rectify one of the most blatant abuses of the U.S. justice system in this century.)
As LaRouche's attorney Odin Anderson rose to respond, the Judge immediately demanded that he tell him how, if LaRouche was not a qualified voter, he could be considered a candidate. Anderson answered that what was at issue here, was the vote, not the candidacy--although under the U.S. Constitution, LaRouche is indeed eligible to hold the office of President of the United States. Judge Jackson continued to pepper Anderson with questions, asking how he would answer DNC lawyer Keeney's arguments that the court had no jurisdiction over the DNC. Anderson addressed many of the citations, showing that no court had ever previously ruled on the issue at hand: whether the DNC itself should come under the jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act, when its rules are enforced without preclearance, and when the application of those rules results in deprivations such as those cited in the LaRouche suit--damages which affected the plaintiff voters, and LaRouche himself.
The fact that the Judge understood that the issue of racist discrimination is involved here, was reflected in his next question to Anderson. The judge asked, in roughly these words, "So, you are saying that the DNC would come under the Voting Rights Act, if, for example, it said they would only recognize white males as candidates?"
Anderson also addressed at some length the fact that the state parties and the DNC were "inextricably intertwined ... alter egos," and therefore had to be considered under the jurisdiction of the D.C. court, although the central relief sought--that of seating LaRouche's delegates--had to be granted through Fowler and the DNC.
Anderson was followed by James Wilson of Alabama, who argued that voters had been stripped of their rights, by what Fowler had done in disqualifying LaRouche, and that therefore Fowler's action had to come under the Voting Rights Act, and its conditions for preclearance.
Judge Jackson virtually took the side of the defense, arguing that voters should not have voted for LaRouche in the first place (!), since he was not a qualified candidate. Wilson countered sharply, and accurately, that the decision to disqualify LaRouche had been taken by the DNC, and by the states acting in accordance with the DNC's instructions, only after LaRouche had already obtained more than 500,000 votes in the Presidential primaries. The states of Louisiana and Virginia put LaRouche on the ballot, the voters exercised their rights, and only then did the states come in and nullify their right to vote. The only relief possible, Wilson stated, is for the court to rule that Fowler and the DNC come under the jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act.
The last argument for the plaintiffs came from Theo Mitchell, who addressed Judge Jackson's question about the DNC ruling on "white males." Of course the Voting Rights Act would apply to such a ruling, he said, and in this case, there is also deliberate intent by DNC head Fowler to carry out a personal vendetta, particularly against LaRouche.
The hearing concluded at approximately 3 p.m., and Judge Jackson had issued his three-page ruling by 5 p.m.