WILLIAM HUBBS REHNQUIST personally tried to stop minority voters from voting.

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NOMINATION OF JUSTICE WILLIAM HUBBS REHNQUIST

HEARINGS before the COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY UNITED STATES

SENATE SECOND SESSION on the NOMINATION OF JUSTICE WILLIAM HUBBS REHNQUIST TO BE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 29, 30, 31, and August 1, 1986

Statement of James J. Brosnahan to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee

August 1, 1986

My name is James J. Brosnahan. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, graduating from Boston College in 1956. After my wife and I graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1959, we moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Between April 10, 1961, and February of 1963, I served as an assistant United States attorney, prosecuting federal criminal cases in Phoenix. In 1963 I left Arizona and moved to San Francisco, California, where I also served as an assistant United States attorney prosecuting criminal cases.

I am now in private practice in San Francisco.

I am appearing today at the request of the Committee. I have never volunteered any information about the events of 1962. My position is that those who are interested in those events are entitled to accurate answers from me as to what I know and specifically the members of this Committee are entitled to the testimony of any witness if they request it.

On Election Day in November 1962, in Phoenix, Arizona, several assistant U.S. attorneys were assigned the task of receiving complaints alleging illegal interference with the voting process. As complaints came in, an assistant U.S. attorney accompanied by an FBI agent would be dispatched to the precinct involved. On that day the United States Attorney's Office in Phoenix received numerous complaints from persons attempting to vote in precincts in South Phoenix. At that time the population of south Phoenix was predominantly black and Hispanic and voted overwhelmingly Democratic. The Office of United States Senator Hayden also received complaints on that day. The complaints we received alleged in various forms that the Republican challengers were aggressively challenging many voters without having a basis for that challenge. One of the complaints frequently voiced on that day was that Republican challengers would point out a black or Hispanic person in the voting line and question whether he or she could read. (At this time it was my understanding that Arizona law required that a voter be able to vote in English.) According to the complaints received at the U.S. Attorney's Office, these challenges were confrontational and made without a factual basis to believe the person challenged had any problem reading. The U.S. Attorney's Office was advised that because the challenges were so numerous, the line of voters in several precincts grew long and some black and Hispanic voters were discouraged from joining or staying in the voters' line. It was also reported that at one of the precincts there was a fist fight as a result of a confrontation between a Republican challenger and another person.

Based on interviews with voters, polling officials, and my fellow assistant U.S. attorneys, it was my opinion in 1962 that the challenging effort was designed to reduce the number of black and Hispanic voters by confrontation and intimidation.

I received a complaint on Election Day and went with an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to a polling place in south Phoenix. The polling place had a long line of voters, several tables at which sat challengers from both parties, and an official whose job was to preside over allowing people to vote. There may have been one or two other officials or clerks. When we arrived, the situation was tense. At that precinct I saw William Rehnquist, who was serving as the only Republican challenger. The FBI agent and I both showed our identifications to those concerned, including Mr. Rehnquist. We both talked to persons involved and the FBI agent interviewed anyone having information about what had occurred at the polling place. In fairness to Justice Rehnquist, I cannot tell the Committee in detail what specific complaints there were or how Mr. Rehnquist responded to them. The complaints did involve Mr. Rehnquist's conduct. Our arrival and the showing of our identifications had a quieting effect on the situation and after interviewing several witnesses, we left. Criminal prosecution was declined as to all participants in the incidents at various precincts that day.

Prosecution was declined as a matter of prosecutorial discretion. Our investigation was pursuant to the following criminal statutes:

18 U.S.C. 594, which made it a misdemeanor to intimidate, threaten, coerce...or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce...any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote.

18 U.S.C. 241, which made it a felony for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen for exercising his civil rights.

I have read the testimony and letter supplied by Justice Designate William Rehnquist to this Committee in 1971. On pages 71 and 72 of his testimony, he describes his role in the early 1960's as trying to arbitrate disputes at polling places. That is not what Mr. Rehnquist was doing when I saw him on Election Day in 1962. At page 491 of the 1971 Record in his letter, William Rehnquist stated: "In none of these years did I personally engage in challenging the qualifications of any voters."
This does not comport with my recollection of the events I witnessed in 1962 when Mr. Rehnquist did serve as a challenger.

William Rehnquist was well-known to me in 1962. The Phoenix legal community was a lot smaller than than it is now. Mr. Rehnquist had clerked on the United States Supreme Court, which was a distinction that few Phoenix lawyers had at that time. There is no question that the person to whom I spoke at the polling place was William Rehnquist.

In 1971 when Mr. Rehnquist was nominated to be a Justice of the Supreme Court, I recalled the 1962 incident. No one contacted me about it. I did not know until recently that this Committee had actually inquired into the voting problems of those years.

THESE SOUND LIKE VALID GROUNDS TO REMOVE HIM FROM THE SUPREME COURT.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), April 02, 2001

Answers

Based on interviews with voters, polling officials, and my fellow assistant U.S. attorneys, it was my opinion in 1962 that the challenging effort was designed to reduce the number of black and Hispanic voters by confrontation and intimidation.

Shoot, Cherri, had to rebold that there message fer ya, so-in ya'd see the part that was relvant. See it yet?

-- I'm (jestadumbol@pilot.com), April 02, 2001.


So according to this post, someone testified 15 years ago that in their opinion, Rehnquist did something 40 years ago, which failed to meet the approval of his political opponents. Oh the horror of this! Do we have 40 years to be of the opinion that we should get upset, or only 15?

Cherri, can't you see that you have scraped completely *through* the bottom of the barrel? What little credibility you once had has been squandered. You really are one of those people who can be fooled ALL of the time.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 02, 2001.


"failed to meet the approval of his political opponents..."

Flint-not what is alledged here. Need to improve your reading comprehension. It is clear as day that the person is saying Rehnquist LIED about what he was doing in 1962.

Clear as day...

-- FlintNonCompusMentis (fried@southern.boy), April 02, 2001.


So according to this post, someone testified 15 years ago that in their opinion, Rehnquist did something 40 years ago, which failed to meet the approval of his political opponents.

Flint, what he did was against the law.
It had nothing to do with the approval or disaproval of any of his political opponents. You are pulling ideas out of thin air. He was trying to intimadate people to interfere with their right to vote. There was and FBI agent and an assistant U.S. attorney who was assigned the task of receiving complaints alleging illegal interference with the voting process.

The complaints did involve Mr.Rehnquist's conduct.

Why do you feel the need to make it look like some opponent was just making vague complaints against him because of his political affiliation? The man was breaking the law, using illegal tactics. This same person is now in the highest court in the land making decisions based on the same bigoted mentality he was using 40 years ago as he intimidated voters.

You loose your credibility by twisting the situation around to suit your own agenda.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), April 02, 2001.


Lets make Dr. Ruthie Vader Ginseng the new chief justice.

-- good idea (let's@do.it), April 02, 2001.


"Hubbs" on my PE trunks. No thanks.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), April 03, 2001.

off

In fairness to Justice Rehnquist, I cannot tell the Committee in detail what specific complaints there were or how Mr. Rehnquist responded to them.

Yessir, sounds like he broke the law alrighty. Funny how he wasn't prosecuted, doncha figger?

Seems like a lot of accusations and no proof. Heck, Cherri, your ol' buddy Bill lied his big 'ol pants off, and you always stuck up fer him.

"whoop... whoop... pullup... pullup..."

-- I'm (jestadumbol@pilot.com), April 03, 2001.


Cherri:

Sigh. According to this post, these allegations were made before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in 1986. Nothing political about the Senate, now is there?

Now, at that time Rehnquist was already on the Supreme Court, and these hearings were being held to consider him for Chief Justice. And as you seem to be aware, he was indeed approved and became Chief Justice.

Now, how do you suppose that happened? Remember that in 1986 the Senate had a democratic majority. Rehnquist's judicial stance was already very well known. If these allegations held any force at all, why was there no outcry, no substantive opposition?

I don't recall the debate in any detail. Was there another side presented to this story? I do NOT trust you to even admit it if there was one, but there always is. Check that -- I trust you to OMIT the other side.

So what we have is allegations made nearly 15 years ago, when they counted, which amounted to nothing. Why are you suddenly SCREAMING about them today? Surely there is some explanation why nothing ever became of these allegations. Why don't you present that too?

I guess that unlike you, Senators are familiar with partisan opposition. They have even heard lies (gasp!). They recognize the dangers of taking a public position without verification simply because they HATE the person being testified against. And even Rehnquist's opponents in the Senate (and there were many) didn't pursue this.

Further, no Senator is ever taken by surprise by anyone at these hearings. If there is any real problem, they know about it ahead of time and have already responded. In this case, there wasn't any problem. These are rumors, opinions "I don't know the details" allegations, just as I said. Anyone who holds opinions in politics has enemies.

Cherri, if you were not blinded by hatred, these circumstances might strike you as suspicious. You might even investigate sources beyond Democrats.com! I swear anyone who could convince you it would unseat Bush could sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. You wouldn't suspect a thing!

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 03, 2001.


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