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Mon Dec 23 11:00:40 MST 2002
Clinton Was Sued For Intimidating Black Voters
News Max ^ | Dec. 22, 2002 | Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff
With Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff
For the story behind the story...
Sunday, Dec. 22, 2002 10:34 p.m. EST
Clinton Was Sued for Intimidating Black Voters in Arkansas
In 1989, then-Gov. Bill Clinton was sued as one of three top Arkansas officials responsible for the intimidation of black voters in his state as part of a legal action brought under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, NewsMax.com has learned.
And a year earlier the U.S. Supreme court ruled that Clinton had wrongfully tried to overturn the election of a black state representative in favor of a white Democrat.
In the 1989 case, "the evidence at the trial was indeed overwhelming that the Voting Rights Act had been violated," reported the Arkansas Gazette on Dec. 6, 1989. (The paper later became the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.)
"Plaintiffs offered plenty of proof of monolithic voting along racial lines, intimidation of black voters and candidates, other official acts that made voting harder for blacks," the Gazette said.
A federal three-judge panel ordered Clinton, then Arkansas Attorney General Steve Clark and then Secretary of State William J. McCuen to draw new boundaries to give maximum strength to black voters.
"Until last year," the Gazette complained at the time, "in more than a thousand legislative elections, the [Arkansas] delta region sent not one black to the legislature. Last year, the federal district court split a multimember district in Crittenden County that had submerged the large number of black voters in the county."
In a related 1988 case, Clinton had tried to replace a duly elected African-American state representative with a white candidate, only to be stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The court, by an 8-0 vote, ruled against an appeal by Gov. Bill Clinton and other Arkansas officials that had challenged the election of Ben McGee as a state legislator," the Associated Press reported on Dec. 12, 1988. McGee is an African-American.
"The case began when blacks in Crittenden County filed a voting rights lawsuit attacking the county's at-large system for electing two House members. The suit contended that the system deprived black voters of a chance to elect a black to the House.
A special three-judge federal court had agreed earlier in the year that the system violated the federal Voting Rights Act.
The three-judge court threw out the results of a March 8 primary election in which the black candidate McGee was defeated by James Stockley, the white candidate handpicked by Gov. Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
"That was tantamount to election on Nov. 8, since no Republican ran for the seat," the AP said.
Clinton and the other state officials had argued that the federal court improperly threw out the results of the first primary and ordered a new election.
The Supreme Court ruling came as the then-governor was fighting another court battle to preserve racial profiling in his state, a tool that Clinton later criticized while president as a "morally indefensible, deeply corrosive practice."
But a decade earlier he approved the profiling of Hispanics by Arkansas State Police as part of a drug interdiction program in 1988, the Washington Times revealed in 1999.
"The Arkansas plan gave state troopers the authority to stop and search vehicles based on a drug-courier profile of Hispanics, particularly those driving cars with Texas license plates," the Times said.
"A federal judge later ruled the program unconstitutional," the paper reported. "A lawsuit and a federal consent decree ended the practice - known as the 'criminal apprehension program' the next year."
Then-Gov. Clinton, however, not only criticized the profiling ban; "at one point, [he] threatened to reinstate the program despite the court's ruling," the Times said.
"The state's position was to give away a ... program that we're now trying to get back," Clinton announced at the time, saying the race-based stop-and-search program was more important than even airport security measures.
Three years later, in 1991, Clinton actually did implement a modified version of the profiling program that prohibited the use of ethnic screening but allowed troopers to continue to stop cars on the highway at their discretion.
Hearing Clinton's condemnation of racial profiling in 1999, Roberto Garcia de Posada, executive director of the Hispanic Business Roundtable, complained that the then-president "had been a strong supporter of racial profiling against Hispanics in the past."
"He does not have the moral authority to lead a national campaign on this issue. If President Clinton truly meant what he said ... he should apologize to all those Hispanics who suffered this 'morally indefensible' practice, which he publicly supported," de Posada said.
On Thursday and Friday, both ex-President Clinton and his wife, Democratic Party presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, criticized Republicans for trying to suppress the black vote in states like Arkansas and Florida. But reporters declined to ask either Clinton about the well-documented record of black voter disenfranchisement in Arkansas while they ran the state.
Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics: Clinton Scandals
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