In the wake of the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted 5-3 on Friday to examine whether “stand your ground” laws across the country have a racial bias.
Commissioner Michael Yaki, a former aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, proposed the special investigation, saying it could answer timely questions about stand your ground legislation, which allows individuals to use force without retreating when there is a reasonable belief they are threatened. All four commissioners appointed by Democrats as well as Abigail Thernstrom, a George W. Bush appointee, voted in support of the investigation.
Staffers of the small federal agency, created through the Civil Rights Act of 1957, will look into how racial bias “may affect the operation of these laws — in the perceptions and motivations of perpetrators, in law enforcement investigation, in prosecution decisions, and in judicial outcomes.”
“Ultimately we need to know whether or not, all other factors being equal, the race of the victim or the perpetrator plays a role in determining the application of these laws,” Yaki said.
Good! However this turns out, it needs to be investigated.
And let's not forget this:
The Commission is supposed to be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, but two Republican commissioners on the panel changed their affiliation to independent during the Bush administration to stack the board. When it was controlled by Republicans, the commission investigated the Justice Department’s handling of a voter intimidation case by members of the New Black Panther Party. The board regained its bipartisan balance last spring.
Unfortunately, Republicans never seem to lose with such sleazy tactics. The public never seems to hold Republicans accountable. Well, that's why they do it.
We get the kind of political behavior we deserve. As long as Republicans aren't held accountable for such things, they'll continue to do them. As it is, there doesn't seem to be a downside to any of the sleazy things they do.