Gerry Hebert, the leading critic of the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general, has a history of making things up about racial issues — so much so, in fact, that a federal court imposed sanctions in one of Hebert’s voting cases.
Reporters like Cameron Joseph at the New York Daily News have already used quotes from Gerry Hebert, a former Justice Department lawyer, to portray Senator Sessions as a racist. Almost 30 years ago, Hebert and his allies in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department were responsible for sabotaging a judicial nomination for Sessions.
The reporters using Hebert as a source do not mention Hebert’s history of making up stories about purported racism, yet documentation of that history is easily located in the public record. Hebert’s exaggerations about racism in one federal court case resulted in sanctions being imposed by a federal judge, costing the United States taxpayer $86,626.
As I wrote in my book Injustice, Hebert is not to be trusted as a credible source:
In United States v. Jones, the Voting Section was sanctioned $86,626 for bringing a frivolous case in Alabama. The DOJ brought the suit under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to block over fifty white voters from participating in an election in a majority black district.
The appeals court ruled that the lawsuit was filed “without conducting a proper investigation of its truth [and was] unconscionable … Hopefully, we will not again be faced with reviewing a case as carelessly instigated as this one.”
You can read the entire scolding Hebert received from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals — for bringing a flimsy case that relied on trumped-up exaggerations about racism — here.
The court ruled:
A properly conducted investigation would have quickly revealed that there was no basis for the claim that the Defendants were guilty of purposeful discrimination against black voters …
Unfortunately, we cannot restore the reputation of the persons wrongfully branded by the United States as public officials who deliberately deprived their fellow citizens of their voting rights. We also lack the power to remedy the damage done to race relations in Dallas County by the unfounded accusations of purposeful discrimination made by the United States.
We can only hope that in the future the decision makers in the United States Department of Justice will be more sensitive to the impact on racial harmony that can result from the filing of a claim of purposeful discrimination.