- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I would like to clarify a few points in The Washington Times’ description in its July 7 editorial “Return of the Black Panther” of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ vote to send a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice objecting to the department’s dismissal of a lawsuit against defendants caught engaging in voter suppression during last year’s national election.

The June 16 letter states that “the decision to send this letter was arrived at in an open meeting of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on June 12, 2009, by majority vote of the commissioners present. The vote was 4-0 with one member [Commissioner Arlan D. Melendez] abstaining. The signatories to this letter all voted in favor of the motion.”

After the transmission of the June 16 letter, two commissioners who had not been present for the vote (Abigail N. Thernstrom and Ashley L. Taylor Jr.) sent a letter to the department on June 22 supporting the substance of that communication and similarly requesting a response from the department as to its rationale for the dismissal of charges. Commissioner Michael Yaki also was not present for the vote and, like Mr. Melendez, did not sign either letter.


Acting chief, Public Affairs Unit, and attorney adviser to the Office of the Staff Director

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights


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