Biden’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has an interesting take on the law.
Natasha Merle believes that commonsense Republican measures such as voter ID laws and a wall to bring stability to the collapsed and chaotic southern border have their roots in white supremacy, according to a Fox News report.
In other words, she’s a wonderful Democratic partisan, but her judicial chops leave much to be desired. Biden’s nomination of Merle, along with seven other federal judicial appointments, was announced with much fanfare in January, with the president saying he was fulfilling a “promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country.”
Merle happens to be deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and she has also taught “racial justice and racial equity” courses at New York University and Columbia University.
Merle’s comments about Republicans were made during an episode of “The Breach” podcast, which followed the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, an event that apparently traumatizes leftist activists to no end.
“What we saw this past weekend in Charlottesville was horrible,” Merle said in the interview. “And many people and Republicans and legislatures have come out to denounce neo-Nazis and white supremacy, but I think lawmakers need to and should do more.
“You know, it’s inconsistent to denounce white supremacy but not repudiate voter ID laws, to not repudiate the Muslim ban, to not repudiate ‘the wall’. These are all things that support and are grounded in white supremacy. The voter ID bills disproportionately impact black and brown voters. They disproportionately prevent black and Latino voters from voting. So you cannot say you are not for white supremacy and at the same time be for disenfranchising black and Latino voters.”
During a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day speech in 2020 at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, Merle also explained how systemic racism affects “everything” in America.
“Decades after Bloody Sunday and the enactment of the Voting Rights Act,” she said, “states no longer use explicit poll taxes, literacy tests, dogs and whips, but voter suppression continues. We cannot lose sight of states such as Alabama, Texas, Florida that have created new barriers to make voting harder, including by eliminating early voting, passing restrictive voter ID laws, and purging legal voters from their rolls—all of this happening with the implicit and sometimes explicit support of the Justice Department.”
Later in the speech, she added, “[c]ases are usually brought to our attention by local community members or local contacts. From then, it obviously has to have a racial impact and a racial component, although I would say at a meta-level everything does in this country.”
During an April 27 confirmation hearing, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Merle about her MLK Day speech, specifically the notion of “systemic racism” and how that would influence rulings by a supposedly impartial judge.
“What role do you believe that, as a federal judge, you would have in addressing systemic racial discrimination?” he asked.
Merle replied that it was “in the purview of policy makers, not the judicial branch,” to address the issue of systemic racial discrimination.
“If confirmed as a district court judge and a case of race-based discrimination or racial bias comes before me,” Merle said, “I would fairly and impartially apply the precedent of the Supreme Court and Second Circuit to the facts established in the record of the case.”
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