Louie Gohmert is under fire today for comparing the civil rights of African Americans and other minorities to animals and insects in a congressional committee hearing. The Texas Republican Congressman yesterday had this to say to Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee:
“There is nobody in this chamber who is more appreciative than I am for the gentleman from Tennessee and my friend from Michigan standing up for the rights of race, religion, national religion of the Delta Smelt, the snail darter, various lizards, the lesser prairie chicken, the greater sage grouts and so many other insects who would want someone standing for their religion, their race, their national origin and I think that’s wonderful.”
While the details of the amendment are technical, here’s the gist: the amendment would prevent intervention by anyone not involved or affected by certain civil rights laws from participating in a lawsuit against a federal agency. Think of it as the Prop 8 case, where the plaintiffs were deemed to not have “standing” to bring the lawsuit because they weren’t harmed.
“It will not allow for some conservative or radical right-wing administration or group in the fish and wildlife to cut a deal with some right-wing radical group and we never know about it so nobody can intervene and stop it,” Gohmert continued. “So you don’t have some group that is directly aligned with somebody in the administration at that point coming together, cutting a sweetheart deal between themselves, to the determent of the race, religion and national religion of snail darters and other animals and fish and wildlife.”
“I’ve got to express umbrage at the idea that African-Americans and Jews are like snail darters,” Congressman Cohen responded.
“The gentlemen will take note what this bill is about!” Gohmert retorted. “It’s not about race, it’s about endangered species.”
“The amendment is about civil rights!” Cohen insisted.
“Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) blasted Gohmert’s comments, noting that ‘this is not a snail darter’s amendment, it is not an environmental amendment, it is a civil rights amendment, and we’re talking about the civil rights of people — the civil rights of people that have been violated egregiously for generations in this country,’” Think Progress reported.
Rep. Gohmert, by the way, had no problem back in May speaking out against allowing gay people in the Boy Scouts, telling Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, “You’re going to allow a situation where a seventeen-year-old guy that’s sexually attracted to other guys gets in a little tent with an eleven-year-old new rookie Boy Scout and they spend the night together, night after night at camp?”
When it comes to minorities, Gohmert will do anything he can to fight against their rights.
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