Opinion » Letter From The Editor

OK, Racist



Back in April, the Commercial Appeal's Daniel Connelly broke a story about Criminal Court Judge Jim Lammey's reposting of numerous racist articles on his Facebook page. The repost that got the most attention was a column called "Stop With the Golems Already" by noted Holocaust denier David Cole. Cole called Muslim immigrants "foreign mud," went on to denounce Jews for encouraging such immigration, and said they should "get the f—- over the Holocaust."

Other anti-immigrant and racist articles that Lammey reposted were from alt-right websites, including Breitbart.com. He also posted a mugshot of a Hispanic man that claimed, incorrectly, that immigrants were responsible for more crimes than American citizens.


How did we learn all this? It seems Lammey accidentally made his Facebook page public. Oops. OK, Boomer.

Compounding the problem is the fact that Lammey is regularly called upon to render judgment on Hispanics and other immigrants in his courtroom.

The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct looked into the situation and issued a ruling this week that stated: "After a complete and thorough investigation, and under the limited and specific facts of this case, the Board acknowledges that there is no proof that you made any statements that were anti-Semitic, racist, or anti-immigration. ... However, during the investigation it appears that some of your Facebook posts were partisan in nature, which is a clear violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct."

In legal terms, this is called a slap on the wrist with a wet piece of linguini. And it's appalling, frankly.

But Lammey's actions pale in comparison to what was discovered about presidential advisor Stephen Miller this week. A cache of 900 emails between Miller and a former Breitbart staffer (who had a change of heart about her racist views) was released to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Simply put, the emails revealed Miller to be an unabashed white supremacist. In the emails, which were sent in 2015 and 2016 when Miller worked as an aide for former Alabama Senator Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions, he persistently urged Breitbart to publish anti-immigrant and white supremacist propaganda, pushing specific authors, articles, and racist screeds from alt-right websites.

Miller often referenced a Calvin Coolidge-era policy that lowered immigration numbers by using discriminatory eugenics-based quotas aimed at Italians, Poles, and other Eastern Europeans, who at the time were considered nonwhite and inferior.

Miller also sharply criticized the removal of Confederate monuments and flags after alt-right killer Dylann Roof murdered nine people in a South Carolina church. What a great guy.

In 2016, Sessions came to the White House as Trump's attorney general, and for two years led the implementation of the administration's immigration "reform" policies, which famously included a Muslim ban, a horrific (and ongoing) family separation policy at the Southern border, the mythical border wall with Mexico, restrictions on "sanctuary cities," and other measures designed to reduce immigration from "brown" countries.

After Trump fired Sessions, his aide de Mein Kampf, Miller, took over and continued the administration's assault on immigration — legal and otherwise — including such measures as deporting undocumented veterans of our armed services, doubling the cost to complete the process for obtaining citizenship, and petitioning the Supreme Court to reject the DACA program for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children.

When the news broke about Miller's emails, 75 congress members and more than 50 civil rights groups called for his resignation. The White House responded by saying the attacks on Miller were "anti-semitic," which, while unsurprising, takes a particular kind of gall.

Miller is unfit to hold public office. Every day he stays in the White House is a stain on this presidency. But in a world where most Americans are suffering from "scandal fatigue" and an ongoing impeachment process that's dominating the news cycle day after day, Trump's in-house nazi may get a pass.

Miller's racist emails are the kind of thing that would, and should, get you fired from pretty much any job you can think of — except maybe a Criminal Court judgeship in Memphis.

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