Went to a dinner last night, and one of the speakers was Subodh (rhymes with “abode”) Chandra (rhymes with “tundra”).
Chandra is a really busy lawyer in private practice who has 7-year-old triplets. He’s not a candidate. So why did he travel 3 hours on a Thursday night to speak to us? Because he was invited, but why else?
Jon Husted is the Republican candidate for Secretary of State in Ohio, that’s why, and Chandra has something to say about that.
Here’s Chandra, in 2009:
Republican candidate Jon Husted adopted the suppression techniques while House speaker. This included the Ohio law that other lawyers and I successfully challenged in federal court that permitted poll workers to demand that naturalized American citizens who have been voting for years produce their certificates of naturalization at the polls before voting. The plaintiffs included longtime citizens, former Ohio First Lady Dagmar Celeste and immigration lawyer Margaret Wong. The judge — a George W. Bush appointee — said, “There is no such thing as a second-class citizen or a second-class American. Frankly, without naturalized citizens, there would be no America. It is shameful to imagine that this statute is an example of how the State of Ohio says ‘thank you’ to those who helped build this country.”
Here’s what the Bush appointee actually wrote (pdf):
This Court harbors grave concerns about the ramifications of implementing amended R.C. § 3505.20. There is a very real possibility of “profiling” voters by poll workers or election judges exercising an unfettered ability to challenge on the basis of appearance, name, looks, accent or manner. The Ohio statute offers no clear standards to guide the inquiry into citizenship. It is offensive to single out a voter in the public polling place, thereby subjecting him or her to embarrassment or ridicule while attempting to exercise a citizenship privilege.
This Court has personally presided over numerous naturalization ceremonies and has witnessed firsthand the joy of these new Americans and their intense desire to participate in this nation’s democratic process. There is no such thing as a second-class citizen or a second class American. Frankly, without naturalized citizens, there would be no America. It is shameful to imagine that this statute is an example of how the State of Ohio says “thank you” to those who helped build this country.
The Republican candidate for Secretary of State in Ohio, the person who would be in charge of election process, promoted a law that was not only unconstitutional, but managed to personally offend the judge, who called it “shameful”.
He’s right. It is shameful. And Husted and the GOP should have to wear this law like a badge that says “unfit for this office”.
Instead, incredibly, Husted has been chosen by the GOP as their candidate to run a statewide election process. I can only assume they’re proud of it.