Friday, September 24, 2010

Pop Quiz: Explosive Testimony Edition

Which of the following explosive testimonies, both of which occurred earlier today, do you think will get the most attention by the media?

A) Christopher Coates, former Department of Justice voting rights section chief, who disobeyed instructions from his superiors to ignore a subpoena from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission regarding their investigation into the DOJ's dismissal a voter intimidation suit against the New Blank Panther Party:

Based upon my own personal knowledge of the events surrounding the CRD's [Civil Rights Division's] actions in the NBPP [New Black Panther Party] case and the atmosphere that has existed and continues to exist in the CRD and in the Voting Section against fair enforcement of certain federal voting laws, I do not believe the representations to this Commission accurately reflect what occurred in the NBPP case and do not reflect the hostile atmosphere that has existed within the CRD for a long time against race-neutral enforcement of the Voting Rights Act [VRA]....

I did not decide lightly to comply with your subpoena in contradiction to the DOJ's directives not to testity. I had hoped that this controversy would not come to this point; however, I have determined that I will no longer fail to respond to your subpoena and thereby fail to provide this Commission accurate information pertinent to your investigation. Quite simply, if incorrect representations are going to successfully thwart an inquiry into the systemic problems regarding race-neutral enforcement of the VRA by the CRD -- problems that were manifested in the disposition of the NBPP case -- that end is not going to be furthered or accomplished by my sitting silently by at the direction of my supervisors while incorrect information is provided. I do not believe that I am professionally, ethically, legally, much less, morally bound to allow such a result to occur. In addition, in giving this testimony, I am claiming the protections of all available federal whistleblower statues.
B) Funnyman Stephen Colbert, who testified (in character) before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Security:


(Hint: For one of the few times in my life, I find myself sympathetic toward John Conyers.)

(Update Hint: I take back my sympathy for John Conyers, who after the testitomy said he thought Colbert actually was "pretty profound.")