Ethics Hero: Florida Governor Rick Scott

Less worthy of integrity than cashing a check or renting a car, according to the Justice Department.

I should add to the heroes list the governors of the states that are challenging the Justice Department over blocking their voter ID requirements as well, but Scott is a worthy representative. His law suit is a little different than theirs, but the principle is the same, the target—Eric Holder’s politicized and incompetent Justice Department—is the same, and the objective, ensuring the integrity of elections, is also the same.

The Department of Justice, of all institutions, shouldn’t be adopting the sadly popular phisosophy, growing like mold on a large segment of progressive America, that it is wrong to enforce legitimate laws if doing so risks having disparate impact on particular groups. It certainly shouldn’t be using its power to join in the desperate race-baiting that seems to be part of the desperate Democratic game plan for President Obama’s re-election. Attorney General Holder has been making the rounds of African-American groups, rattling the civil rights sabers and proclaiming that requiring voters to show proof of identity and citizenship is a racist plot. This is either cynical politics or proof of intellectual deficiency, and since it is Holder, telling which is difficult. Holder, after all, requires identification to get into his building, his office, and his public appearances, but presumably nobody would accuse the first black and most race-conscious Attorney General in the nation’s history of being anti-black. Yet I  submit that the importance of ensuring the integrity of  elections in a democracy is rather more important than ensuring that only citizens get to hear Holder make speeches accusing states of racism and voter-suppression for attempting to enforce the law.

Gov. Scott’s law suit involves Holder’s Justice Department obstructing his efforts to purge the voter rolls of felons and illegal aliens, of which, perhaps you have heard, Florida has many. This is the state’s job, and a necessary one, as anyone who has checked their fundraising list or Facebook friends knows. Lists get corrupted. People end up on them who don’t belong there because they are dead or not who you thought they were, or some other reason. Florida’s plan includes reasonable safeguards, and the contention that voting rolls shouldn’t be checked and purged of illegal voters because some legitimate voters might erroneously be cast off as well is so logically and ethically bankrupt that it should require no rebuttal. It is also, coming from the U.S.government, and a government run by a party that advocates more and bigger government, hypocritical. Yup, you’re right, Eric, government can’t do anything without screwing it up. If it collects taxes, some taxpayers get unfairly harassed. If it enforces criminal laws, some people end up in jail who shouldn’t. It it has a space program, a couple of space shuttled blow up. If it lets guns get smuggled into Mexico, people get killed. Since when was the response to imperfect execution of governmental functions to argue that the government shouldn’t do its job at all? (I mean, other than when Republicans are talking?)

I can answer that: when blocking state governments from ensuring that only citizens can vote simultaneously allows the Obama Administration—you recall, the one that wa supposed to be neither black nor white, and bring us together?—to feed racial distrust of whites and Republicans, and as a special bonus, also panders to illegal immigrants, and, by extension, the arge Hispanic voting bloc.

The Feds won’t enforce immigration laws, is blocking the states from enforcing them, and now says that the efforts of states to try to make sure all those illegal immigrants aren’t going to vote is racist and attempted voter suppression.

I’ll say this: it is audacious. And like so many of  recent campaign-based tactics, it counts on the inattention of the public. The vast majority agree that requiring IDs to vote is fair, responsible and necessary, which it is. Only Obama partisans, and Holder is certainly one, desperate to turn the election into race-, gender-, class- warfare can have the brass to argue that what is fair and necessary is also racist. Although, starnge as it seems, there are judges who adhere to the bizarre notion that enforcing reasonable laws equally on all citizens is still discriminatory, I am confident that Holder’s cynical ploy will fail. In the meantime, it’s embarrassing…much like Holder’s tenure as Attorney General.

 

 

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Sources:

Graphic: Fitsnews

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

 

36 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Florida Governor Rick Scott

  1. I was shocked the first time I went to vote. The bar is indeed low. But with the advent of the mail in ballot, what does it matter? Voting is broken, and it could only be fixed at the local level and the best system should rise to the top. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

    The worst course of action is to do nothing….I think.

  2. Yup, you’re right, Eric, government can’t do anything without screwing it up. If it collects taxes, some taxpayers get unfairly harassed. If it enforces criminal laws, some people end up in jail who shouldn’t. It it has a space program, a couple of space shuttled blow up. If it lets guns get smuggled into Mexico, people get killed. Since when was the response to imperfect execution of governmental functions to argue that the government shouldn’t do its job at all? (I mean, other than when Republicans are talking?)

    That creeps up on the health care debate. Opponents of nationalized health care point out (accurately) that health care would be run by the same people that brought the Tuskegee Experiments and Los Angeles County King-Drew Medical Center, without arguing if the alternatives are better.

    (I take no position, at this time, whether the alternatives are better)

    Although, starnge as it seems, there are judges who adhere to the bizarre notion that enforcing reasonable laws equally on all citizens is still discriminatory

    Have there been such judges. It is true that a policy that appears neutral on its face may violate equal protection, if “in practice is riddled with exemptions or worse is a veiled cover for targeting a [group]”. paraphrasing Ward v. Polite, 667 F.3d 727 at 738 (6th Cir. Jan. 27, 2012) And purging the voter rolls, which in concept is facially neutral, could constitute discrimination if it was riddled with exemptions.

    But are there judges who found facially neutral policies to be discriminatory even though it was established that there were no exemptions?

    • I think Scott is an ethics dunce who is trying to selectively remove lots of legitimate Democratic voters.

      How so? Is he only going to selectively purge voter rolls from selected counties?

    • Not to mention, this list is so sloppy that all 67 of the county election supervisors (including 30 Republicans) refuse to implement it, because they think it is probably illegal. They are the ethics heroes.

    • I know. It makes no sense to me—I don’t care if one or a million non-citizens vote (and it is a lot more than one). There is nothing wrong, sinister or unfair about making sure voters are who they say they are. I don’t believe for a second that Holder thinks it is, either. I believe that he wants illegals to be able to get away with voting in swing state Florida (where, you’ll recall, a few hundred votes made a big difference), and wants to pander to Hispanic citizens and African Americans by framing it as a civil rights issue. That’s quite a scam you’re supporting, Bob: don’t enforce the immigration laws, and don’t allow measures to keep all the illegals being allowed to come in from casting votes for the party that lets them in.

      And I think Scott wins this lawsuit. Easily. As Alabama, Georgia and Arizona will win theirs.

  3. The vote belongs to legitimate American citizens who alone are responsible for and personally involved in the affairs and future of this nation. Everytime an alien, a felon or a dead man votes, he votes at the behest of others who use his vote to promote policies that advance the sponsor to the detriment of the nation as a whole. They also cancel the votes of hard working, patriotic Americans who take their franchise seriously. The electorial process is a cornerstone of our representative republic. Any time it is abused or subverted, it is an insult and a crime against the national creed. Thus, this attempt by the Obama administration to allow such corruption under the smokescreen of some of the greatest lies and hypocricies ever engendered by a sitting President is an attack against the core of America.

  4. Jack, there is no problem with ineligible people voting. None. You have an extremely flawed solution that fixes no problem.

    The process Scott is pushing places more of a burden on the poor and mobile community: generally democratic constituencies.

    And you’re saying that the department of justice is the partisan group here?

    • I don’t understand your first statement, tgt. Obviously there are problems with it:
      1) My vote may be cancelled out by someone who has no right to vote. This undermines my rights.
      2) Allowing any illegal activity encourages more of it.
      3) It is an incentive to encourage illegal immigration and a disincentive to duly register.
      4) It could affect the outcome of the election.
      You don’t see these as problems? Why not?

      It’s a burden…it’s not an unreasonable burden given the importance of the process. I am frankly dubious that anyone who wants or cares about voting is seriously disadvantaged by having to get identification, and I outright reject the ridiculous idea that checking any list for accuracy, especially a list of eligible voters, is anything but responsible and
      necessary.

      • There is no evidence that illegal immigrants or people who are otherwise ineligible to vote are voting with any regularity. There are something like a dozen cases each year.

        Yes, it would be a problem if there were many ineligible people voting, but the precursor isn’t there. To solve a problem that doesn’t exist, Scott is trying to disenfranchise thousands of legal voters.

        • If the rolls were being appropriately purged, nobody could complain. The problem is that they’re not ensuring that they only remove ineligible voters. There’s an extremely high rate of error in the process, and that’s what’s being attacked here.

        • But that’s a Catch-22. If you don’t check, of course there’s not a lot of evidence of ineligible voters voting. I don’t know for sure, but in the absence of good data, the default position should be to make voting rolls as secure as possible. I find articles like this one:
          http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/jack-kelly/voter-fraud-is-real-224753/
          and this one… http://www.onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=1572452…sufficient to say that there is a real issue.

          • Your citations are a story about forged signatures to get someone on the ballot and a story noting that it’s possible a few illegal immigrants have voted in Florida. The first isn’t related at all to the issue and the second pretty much shows that it’s a nonissue. There may be 100 non citizens registered to vote, but they don’t use a number to say how many of them have actually ever voted. Why? Because there’s no evidence that any of them have actually voted.

            You did say something I completely agree with: “I don’t know for sure, but in the absence of good data, the default position should be to make voting rolls as secure as possible.” I don’t see removing John Smith from the voter rolls because someone named John Smith has died as being very secure. Security requires limiting false positives.

          • The poor move more often and our less likely to be contacted, even if they are in the same voting district. Also, the poor are less likely to be able to take a day off work to correct incorrect information. I get 5 weeks off a year, work flexible hours, and have a car. It’s no trick for me to set the commission straight, but someone working 32 hours a week at walmart (below full time so no vacation), who relies on public transit, and who has a kid just can’t afford the time off. It’s a burden on them that is not on me.

  5. This, I submit, is another instance of you ascribing unprovable motivations to your political opponents. Is it really not possible in your mind that Holder and others are trying, not to allow ineligible voters to vote, but to prevent eligible voters from being disallowed their votes? Why do you accept only the least defensible rationale as genuine?

    • Because the position is ridiculous on its face. No legitimate prosecutor accepts the logic of non-enforcement,,,that because enforcement of any law causes some collateral damage, the solution is not to enforce. That is anti-law enforcement, and Holder is pledged to enforce the law. Indeed, he is doing what you accuse ME of doing. Why isn’t the presumed rationale for ensuring the integrity of voter eligibility to make certain that only eligible voters can vote? Why is the rhetoric Holder, and worse, his allies in Congress and the media, so over-the-top? Requiring ID is like a poll tax? Holder knows that’s absurd…is his own building’s requirement of ID a Justice Department tax? There is little burden to acquiring an ID, and it assists in more than just voting. Holder’s rationale, and the MSNBC end of the media, is that Republicans are racists, so even logical, typical, court-approved law enforcement must be sinister. If Holder believes that, he’s a biased fool; if he doesn’t, he’s misusing his office for political purposes. Enforcing the law always inconveniences somebody. If Holder won’t oppose automobile licensing on the same grounds, it is because that has no political upside for his party. The integrity of elections is at least as important as ensuring proper operation of automobiles.

      I submit that anyone who doesn’t see that is in the throes of near terminal confirmation bias. Listen to yourself: asking someone to prove that it’s his real name that he’s getting checked off on the voter rolls is unreasonable?…purging the voter lists of ineligible voters is unreasonable?,,,but purging Christmas card lists of dead people makes perfect sense. I’m giving Holder the benefit of the doubt and assuming he’s smarter than this, and thus just politically motivated. Maybe I’m giving him too much credit.

      • Is identification the sole issue here, Jack? Look through this thread again. It’s been at least alluded to be Bob, Rick, Jan, and tgt, and now I’ll say it plainly: The problem is not with purging the roles of ineligible voters. The problem is with purging the roles of eligible voters and making the process asymmetrically difficult for some. That goes a little beyond asking people to prove their names, and in not seeing that you’re being either disingenuous or stubbornly blind to the views of your opponents.

        Yes, obviously it would be foolish to argue that non-enforcement of the law is the solution to any collateral damage. But I think it’s perfectly reasonable to avoid increasing enforcement efforts if the resulting collateral damage noticeably outweighs the number of instances of law-breaking that are prevented. If the new rules keep fifty ineligible voters from casting ballots but also results in three hundred eligible, registered voters being purged and failing to reinstate their registration in time, would that really be in service of democracy? You don’t want your vote cancelled out by someone who’s not a citizen? Understandable. I don’t want my vote canceled out by someone who wasn’t arbitrarily declared suspect by the governor’s office. Understandable?

        Why isn’t the presumed rationale for ensuring the integrity of voter eligibility to make certain that only eligible voters can vote?

        That’s a great question. And that’s exactly my problem with this and many other issues in the American political discourse. It’s never that the other side has a mistaken idea about how to accomplish a justifiable goal; it’s that they’re evil. Holder wants to make sure that illegal aliens are voting with impunity and Scott wants to see to it that only the wealthy have a political voice. The NRA wants all of modern America to be the Old West; gun control advocates want all power and all potential for power to consolidated into the hands of government. Democrats want to routinely kill babies, and Republicans want to repress women to the point that stoning is accepted. Because apparently, in politics, everyone is Milton’s Satan.

        I’m sick to death of a society wherein everyone claims telepathic insight into the beliefs, motivations, and personalities of everyone else, all without ever considering it odd that those insights always seem to support the individual’s every prejudice.

        • Huh? If someone is accusing Scott, who, last I looked, does not have a criminal record, of setting out to intentionally purge eligible voters from the rolls, they better have a better set of evidence than “he’s a Republican.” “The problem is with purging the roles of eligible voters and making the process asymmetrically difficult for some.” Is a misleading description. The first part is not an objective, but a possible outcome of mistakes. The second part is called bureaucracy. I just took about a year trying to replace my son’s Social Security card, without which he could not get a job or a learners permit, which required a new proof of citizenship (he was adopted as an infant from Russia), which required a ridiculous trek back and forth to Homeland Security, a dozen lost files and filled out forms. the payment of fees of more than 500 bucks, all to keep terrorists out of the country. Yes, this was asymmetrically difficult for my son, because he was a naturalized citizen. He lost two jobs and his driving has been delayed for 12 months. Am I arguing that the government shouldn’t tighten up its requirements for proof of citizenship because individuals get unjustly inconvenienced because big government always, always, makes mistakes and does a rotten job? NO! Am I saying that the laws shouldn’t be enforced because adopted kids get robbed of their right to drive? NO! Am I saying that this process exists to discriminate agains people like my son? NO.

          Is Holder? Oh, no indeed. He’s just using the same logic of those things to keep Scott and other states from tightening up their procedures like the US is tightening up its procedures.

          You’re sick of that kind of discourse and still say that “Scott wants to see to it that only the wealthy have a political voice” ??????
          Ridiculous, unfair, biased, hypocritical and unsupportable. He doesn’t want felons and illegals to vote. Neither should you.

          • Uh, Jack? Reread my comment. The remark about Scott only wanting the wealthy to have a voice came as part of a list of rhetorical claims that people make on both sides about political opponents.

            Did you misread, did I express myself poorly, or did you make an assumption about my views based on your guess as to my political affiliation?

            • I misread the comment there, particularly dumb since I use the same rhetorical device myself. My apologies.

              But I don’t think those statements are apposite. Scott says he just wasn’t to clean up the rolls. It is Holder and the Jesse Jackson crowd who are making accusations of racism and Jim Crow. As I said more than once, if Holder isn’t just being partisan, then he is opposing law enforcement, which is his job. I’m sorry: this isn’t even a close call for me, and the ID issue isn’t either. If requiring an ID over-burdens certain citizens, then make cheaper for them to get ID. Letting illegals vote is no solution, and is indeed a suspicious one.

              • Scott says he wants to clean up the rolls, but the means he is using to do so is fraught with error, and error that disproportionately affects minorities and the poor. Hanlon’s razor comes in.

                Next, Scott gets told that the process is sloppy and disproportionately affects some people. His response? Double down on it. Scott knows what’s happening, but doesn’t care. Do we believe that Scott doesn’t care about disenfranchising voters in general or that he doesn’t care about disenfranchising people on the other side of the aisle?

                Maybe Holder is playing the race card unnecessarily and Scott had the purest intentions in mind. It doesn’t matter. There is a problem with Scott’s purge, the Justice department was right to stop it, and Scott is wrong to sue them.

                • I believe, if he’s suing, that he believes that Justice placed him in a contentious Catch 22, saying that he couldn’t clean the rolls effectively but withholding the database he needed to do it. If it’s going to court, I presume that he can show that he is making a good faith effort to do his job, and that Justice is throwing roadblocks in his path for political reasons.

                  If he can’t show that, then he’s an idiot. I don’t think Justice cares whether it can support its position in court. I think Holder was grandstanding for the black and Hispanic “base,” as he did in the Martin-Zimmerman case, as he did with the New Black Panthers voter suppression case, as he has in Arizona. When he loses, the Democrats will say the judges were appointed by Republicans. The ploy will still have its desired effect.

                  If it weren’t for John Mitchell and Alberto Gonzalez, I’d be able to say that Holder is the worst, most political and inept AG in my lifetime…and most of them have been bad.

                  • I believe, if he’s suing, that he believes that Justice placed him in a contentious Catch 22, saying that he couldn’t clean the rolls effectively but withholding the database he needed to do it.

                    So you’re saying that prior to this suit, Scott knew what he was doing wasn’t accurate or effective? Good show! It seems to me the fact pattern here is: Scott designs invalid way to purge people from voter rolls. The justice department properly blocks him for violating the voting rights act (Setting up procedures that had not been approved). As a bonus, the procedures are discriminatory. Scott then turns around and says that he is being obstructed and demands the justice department give him a database of good information. Scott is trying to trick people into thinking the database being withheld from him caused him to create bad policies, when he (illegally) created bad policies on his own, and is now being blocked from access to said database until he is no longer in violation of the voting rights act.

                    You presume the best out of Scott and the worst out of Holder, and you create a counterfactual fact pattern to do so. You’re rationalizing what you want to be true. You’re not judging this situation as it is.

              • As for the ID, if you remove obstacles from getting said ID that disproportionately affect teh poor, then it’s cool. Obstacles like a birth certificate (that the poor are less likely to have). Obstacles such as locations to get such ID, and the time and money it disproportionately costs the poor (the actual cost of the ID itself is a drop in the bucket). Obstacles like the Illinois(?) law that said that workers were not allowed to mention the free ID.

                What seems like a reasonable requirement for you or I is not a reasonable requirement for everyone. Your idea of just making the ID cheaper is laughable.

          • I think you are misinterpreting Mr. Carney’s statement regarding Scott, but I’ll let him defend himself. He’s pretty good at it.

            Rick Scott does not have a criminal record, but he came awfully close when the for profit health care company he founded was charged with Medicare fraud and did not fight the charges, after ousting him from his position.

            To say that Holder wants illegal immigrants to vote, or that Rick Scott doesn’t want Democrats to vote, are equally ridiculous. The problem is that the law in Florida casts too wide a net to catch too few fish. From my research, what I find is that there has never been an instance of an illegal immigrant attempting to vote. Why would they, and risk exposure? This is an insignificant problem that, even when instances are discovered, usually turn out to be inadvertent mistakes either on the part of the voter or the polling official. There is not a vast pool of undiscovered voter fraud going on. Even the cases that are reported are overwhelmingly dismissed. No one objects to Voter ID, but the process can be expensive and cumbersome, which has been found to be the equivalent of a poll tax (this is in the state of Missouri, no liberal bastion). ID laws need to be phased in so that the people can be informed of them well in advance and certain segments of the population are not disproportionately affected.

  6. Dear Jack, much as I hate to disagree with you, most of the people that Mr. Scott is removing from the voting rolls are legitimate voters who happen to have Hispanic surnames. The Tampa Bay Times, the state’s leading newspaper, has compared Scott’s actions to Gov. George Wallace standing in the school house door. I would respectfully suggest you reconsider.

    • The system, as I read it, has many checkpoints. Scott’s lawsuit involves acquiring the government database that allows the names to be further checked. There is nothing in Scott’s record that would suggest that he would intentionally rob valid voters of their rights. So my question would be: how do you know that “most of the people that Mr. Scott is removing from the voting rolls are legitimate voters who happen to have Hispanic surnames”? If that’s true, it would be illegal, but why would you, or anyone, conclude that except from a prior assumption that the effort to purge the rolls isn’t legitimate?

      And as someone who remembers George Wallace, I’d say the Times’ comparison of Scott with him commands dismissal since it is absurd on its face. Don’t you agree?

      • You can’t use later actions to justify earlier actions Jack. You know this.

        Scott’s actions speak for themselves in this matter. The plan was fatally flawed and would significantly impact valid voters. Whether Scott knew this originally or not, he was later informed of this, but pressed on anyway. When we see Scott shoot someone, we don’t need a history of shootings to conclude that Scott shot someone.

        As for the racial component, that appears to be a side effect of the political advantage. I don’t think there’s been evidence that Scott actually cares the race of the people disenfranchised. Wallace is a bad comparison.

  7. I should add to the heroes list the governors of the states that are challenging the Justice Department over blocking their voter ID requirements as well, but Scott is a worthy representative.

    I should add that the Supreme Court upheld voter ID requirements. See Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008).

    • A horrible overreach along multiple fronts. Ignoring the actual intent of the law. Throwing out rational basis completely. The decision was beyond ridiculous. It’s law, but that doesn’t make it right.

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