Yesterday, President Obama named DOJ lawyer Tom Perez as his choice for Labor Secretary. Perez is a strong progressive choice for that position, and one who will surely make right wing heads explode across the country.
MSNBC's background piece on Perez reveals him to be someone who doesn't back down and stands up for the rights of ordinary people:
Senate Republicans are expected to strongly oppose Perez’s nomination, having previously held up his appointment to the Justice Department for over seven months.
In his time as assistant attorney general in charge of the DoJ’s Civil Rights Division, Perez became known for his aggressive, high-profile investigations into allegations of discrimination. For example, he investigated Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law to determine whether it was in violation of the Voting Rights Act, and used Section five of the Voting Rights Act to block a similar law from being enacted in Texas.
He also investigated the Trayvon Martin killing to determine whether it was a hate crime, and put a new emphasis on advocating for the rights of LGBT youth and the disabled. All of this has garnered him support among grassroots progressive groups.“Tom Perez has been a shining light for equal justice and opportunity within the Obama Administration, protecting the civil rights of all Americans in employment, housing, education, law enforcement, and beyond,” said Alan Jenkins, executive director of The Opportunity Agenda.
In anticipation of the inevitable attacks on Perez on Fox and elsewhere, MediaMatters has compiled a terrific list of myths and facts about Perez. If the depth of lies is a measure of the fear they have, then they're quaking-in-their-shoes afraid of Tom Perez. Here's a taste of some of their previous lies:
National Review Online: There Are "Important Questions About Just How Competently" Perez Managed Voting Rights Act Cases As Head Of The Civil Rights Division (CRD). John Fund has questioned Perez's competency by repeatedly referring to the Voting Section's challenge to South Carolina's voter ID law as an example of how Perez has been "smacked down by courts all over the country."
Media Matters helpfully supplies facts and sunlight to disinfect the lie bacteria:
FACT: Under Perez's Watch, The CRD Was Very Successful In Curbing The Many Attempts At Voter Suppression In The Last Election Cycle
The Atlantic: The Voting Section Challenge To South Carolina's Voter ID Law Resulted In Its Overhaul And Partial Approval On The Condition That It Not Discriminate Against Voters Of Color. Perez supervised the successful prevention of multiple state legislative attempts at suppressing the votes of communities of color in the 2012 elections, including in South Carolina.
There's much, much more. Fox News has signaled a revival of the stupid New Black Panthers nonsense, as Heather reported last week.
More than any of those things, however, the right wing fears Perez because he will have some strong input into any proposed immigration reform as far as it impacts workers' rights. Michelle Malkin has already gone after him for serving as president and also as a board member of Casa de Maryland, an advocacy group for workers rights and fair immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship. Her dripping nativism is somewhat ironic, but no less vile.
Perez also helped spearhead the lawsuit against Arizona over its immigration-enforcement measures and launched a three-year DOJ witch-hunt against Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio. The vengeful investigation against Arpaio, the nation’s most outspoken local law-enforcement official against illegal-alien crime, was dropped without charges last summer. Perez is leading similar witch-hunts against police departments across the country based on left-wing junk-science theories about racial “disparate impacts.”
Shorter Malkin: He's working for black and brown folks, not white ones!
Expect more of this, particularly in the context of immigration reform and workers' rights. Right now the right wing believes they're winning the battle over labor unions via the states. They don't want some uppity first-generation Latino lawyer to screw that up!
Update: That didn't take long. Senator
Diapers Vitter will block Perez' nomination. This does not surprise me in the least.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter announced his commitment to block the nomination of Thomas Perez as Secretary of the Labor Department until the Department of Justice responds to his 2011 letter related to spotty enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act in Louisiana. Perez was closely involved in the controversial New Black Panther voter intimidation case before the Department of Justice.
“Thomas Perez’s record should be met with great suspicion by my colleagues for his spotty work related to the New Black Panther case, but Louisianians most certainly should have cause for concern about this nomination,” said U.S. Sen. David Vitter. “Perez was greatly involved in the DOJ’s partisan full court press to pressure Louisiana’s Secretary of State to only enforce one side of the law – the side that specifically benefits the politics of the president and his administration at the expense of identity security of each and every Louisianian on the voter rolls.”
Why didn't he just come right out and say he had a sad because Perez let black folks vote?