Ted Cruz: The Selfish Double Standard of the Southern Poverty Law Center

By Ted Cruz for RealClearPolitics

Two lawyers from the famed Southern Poverty Law Center have been making headlines in recent weeks. One faces domestic terrorism charges; the other is votes away from a lifetime federal judicial appointment.

The SPLC fully supports the two attorneys: Thomas Webb Jurgens, a suspected Antifa terrorist arrested and charged for his involvement in a violent riot against police in Atlanta, Georgia, and Nancy Abudu, the SPLC’s Director of Strategic Litigation, whose the job is to oversee all of the SPLC’s legal work – including its special “hate group” litigation. Abudu is currently a candidate for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit awaiting a confirmation vote by the United States Senate.

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Most organizations would suspend at least one employee engaging in potentially criminal behavior, as Jurgens was suspended during the violent attack in Atlanta in early March. But not only did the SPLC allow him to keep his job, they failed to condemn the horrific violence.

Hours after Jurgens’ arrest, the SPLC issued a joint statement with another radical group, the National Lawyers Guild. Instead of condemning the violence against police officers that took place, the SPLC denounced Jurgens’ arrest as “part of the state’s continued repression and violence” and called for the “de-escalation of violence …against black, brown and indigenous communities”. The statement is ironic, given that Jurgens has engaged in terrorist and violent behavior towards those who risk their lives daily for public safety, including those in black, brown and indigenous communities.

Unfortunately, such blatant and violence-inducing actions are normal when dealing with the SPLC, which has a long track record of smearing its political opponents and endangering them. In 2012, a gunman entered Washington, DC, home of the conservative Family Research Council, seeking to kill as many FRC employees as possible, and shot a security guard. The shooter later told the FBI he targeted the Family Research Council because the SPLC called it a “hate group.” Likewise, the gunman who opened fire on Republican lawmakers and nearly killed current House Majority Leader Steve Scalise in 2017 also tracked the work of the SPLC.

The SPLC also targeted public figures. In a February 2019 article titled “Hate Goes to Washington,” the SPLC compiled a list of Republican candidates who the SPLC said held “outspoken white supremacist, nativist, anti-LGBT, or anti-government views.” This list included myself, as well as my colleagues Josh Hawley and Marsha Blackburn.

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It is not just conservatives who have been the victims of the SPLC’s hatred. In 2018, the SPLC paid a $3.375 million settlement to Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, who dedicated his life to championing a nonviolent expression of Islamic faith. The SPLC had included Mr. Nawaz – as well as human rights defender Ayaan Hirsi Ali — on his so-called “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” In the words of Mr. Nawaz, the SPLC “put a target on my head”, which resulted in death threats. And just this week, a federal judge denied The SPLC’s motion to dismiss a libel suit brought against them by a coalition working to secure our borders, which the SPLC has called a “hate group”, meaning the case will go to trial.

That’s not all. Internal corruption – including racism, sexism and sexual harassment – within the SPLC is rampant. In fact, right after Ms. Abudu joined the SPLC as a senior executive, the company’s co-founder, Morris Dees, and longtime chairman, Richard Cohen, were both ousted for what employees did. called “a systemic culture of racism and sexism within their workplace.” According to at least one former staff member who has spoken out, the situation there is still as toxic despite a damage control campaign led by political operative Tina Tchen, whose underhanded tactics include the running cover for Andrew Cuomo, which was recently revealed.

The violence inspired by the SPLC, not to mention its internal corruption, should disqualify Abudu from a lifetime appointment to the federal bench, given her role as one of the organization’s top female lawyers.

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Surprisingly, when questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee on which I sit, Abudu repeatedly refused to condemn the violent rhetoric of the SPLC. Instead, she repeated over and over how proud she was to work for an organization that has been discredited by investigative journalists and commentators from across the political spectrum for years and what even progressives have double “everything wrong with liberalism.”

I ask my colleagues in the Senate to consider what message it would send to the people we represent if we confirmed someone from such a corrupt organization to the federal bench.

At a time when it is often difficult to find points of agreement, surely we can all agree that it is time to cut ties with the SPLC, its entanglement with racism and sexual harassment, and its campaign of hate and domestic terrorism.

Syndicated with permission by RealClearWire.

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