Main Justice was the first to report early last week that Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates, who had approved the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and the first voter intimidation case against black defendants in Noxubee County, Miss., had been transferred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina.
Now Adam Serwer of The American Prospect has written a story that puts the shake up in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division into context. Coates, writes Serwer, “underwent an ideological conversion shortly after a black lawyer in the Voting Rights Section, Gilda Daniels, was promoted to deputy section chief over him in July of 2000. Outraged, Coates filed a complaint alleging he was passed up for the job because he is white. The matter was settled internally.”
Voting section employees help a goodbye lunch for Coates on Tuesday, writes Serwer:
At the end, the attendees were startled when Coates pulled out a binder and began reciting a written defense of his decision to file the New Black Panther and Noxubee cases. Voting Section employees exchanged glances in disbelief.
“It felt like he was summing up to a jury,” one attendee said.
Serwer also writes that Coates “has been identified by several current and former Justice Department officials as the anonymous Voting Section lawyer, referred to in the joint Inspector General/Office of Professional Responsibility report, that [Bradley] Schlozman recommended for an immigration judge position.”
One of the key players in the politicization scandal, Bradley Schlozman, wrote a letter to Monica Goodling, a former senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who was also implicated in the scandal involving politicized hiring, wrote of Coates:
Don’t be dissuaded by his ACLU work on voting matters from years ago. This is a very different man, and particularly on immigration issues, he is a true member of the team.
Be sure to read the whole story at the American Prospect.