Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that a teabagger who’s running for secretary of state in Kansas is claiming responsibility for “helping” Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, a white separatist, write the state’s controversial new immigration law. (He has since removed the claim from his website.) Lawyer Kris Kobach, a constitutional law professor, is counsel for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
From Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times:
As disturbing as the prospect is of a nativist extremist lawyer like Kris Kobach training all 881 of Sheriff Joe’s beigeshirts in immigration law, I have to wonder if it’s a sign that Arpaio’s throwing in the towel on the big Melendres vs. Arpaio racial-profiling lawsuit now underway in federal court.
What, was Stormfront’s Don Black not available? Maybe Tom Metzger could take a break from running his white nationalist Web site The Insurgent to come down and offer some words of supremacist wisdom to Joe’s benighted deputy dawgs. And don’t forget David Duke, that cat’s always lookin’ for a gig.
I kid, of course. Being an attorney, Kobach’s ties to anti-immigrant and extremist nativist organizations are far more white collar, with the emphasis on white. The controversial University of Missouri law prof acts as counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of FAIR, the notorious Federation for American Immigration Reform.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has tagged FAIR as a hate organization, and FAIR’s earned the title. Last April, when Kobach was announced as a minority witness before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during the committee’s hearing into the 287(g) program and Joe Arpaio, the SPLC hit the committee with a letter objecting to Kobach’s presence because of his ties to FAIR.
Regarding FAIR, the SPLC’s Mark Potok had this to say:
FAIR is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes annual listings of such organizations. Among the reasons are its acceptance of $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, a group founded to promote the genes of white colonials that funds studies of race, intelligence and genetics. FAIR has hired as key officials men who also joined white supremacist groups. It has board members who write regularly for hate publications. It promotes racist conspiracy theories about Latino immigrants. It has produced television programming featuring white nationalists.
And John Tanton, the man who founded the group in 1979, has a long personal history of associating with white nationalists. In a 1993 letter to Garret Hardin, a committed eugenicist who promoted pseudo-scientific ideas of racial purity, Tanton wrote candidly: “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”
The committee ultimately allowed Kobach to speak, but the stigma Kobach carries with him both precedes and hounds him. In 2004, he ran as a Republican against Democratic Congressman Dennis Moore, and was spanked hard, losing by 11 percent to Moore in Kansas’ largely Republican 3rd District. One reason he lost, according to The Road to Congress 2004 was because, “in general, Kobach was accused of taking money from a white supremacist organization, and the charge stuck.” Currently, Kobach is vying to be Kansas’ Secretary of State.
Kobach also served under Attorney General John Ashcroft during the Bush administration. There he developed a controversial program to profile Muslim men from certain countries and track them while in the U.S.
Kobach is also the proponent of a near-mystical nativist legal concept: that local cops have the inherent authority to enforce all federal statutes. Most legal scholars find this idea laughable, but folks like Arpaio and Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce cling to it like a life preserver in choppy waters.
Oh, this is gonna be interesting.