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Back Island Stir ‘Chamorro-only’ lawsuit makes waves abroad

‘Chamorro-only’ lawsuit makes waves abroad

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THE lawsuit filed this week by Arnold “Dave” Davis against the planned “Chamorro-only” plebiscite on Guam’s political status has made waves not only locally, but in the mainland as well.

The lawsuit has drawn partisan and contrasting reactions from both the American left and the right-wing conservative block.

Antiwar.com, which describes itself as read by libertarians, pacifists, leftists, "greens," and independents, describes the lawsuit as “typical neo-connish rhetoric” which incorrectly places the context of the planned plebiscite.

In the article titled “Guam shows the way” that appeared in Antiwar.com, author Justin Raimondo wrote that the main argument of the lawsuit, that the plebiscite is racially discriminatory, is false.

“Anyone who was living on Guam in 1950, when the U.S. declared Guam a ‘non self-governing territory’ and officially colonized it, is eligible to vote, as are their descendants, no matter what their race. The plebiscite, which should have been held in 1950, effectively nullifies the conquest of Guam by the U.S. and the denial of its right to national self-determination. That this injustice may soon be coming to an end is what sticks in the craw of Mr. Davis. ... Guam is booty in the game of Empire, an important symbol of American hegemony in the Pacific, and the very idea that the Guamanians want their country back is an affront to the neocons,” Raimondo fumed.

Furthermore, Raimondo stressed that self-determination is an act of supreme justice – one that doesn’t recognize temporal limits to the concept of right, but carries it to its logical conclusion: the idea that the restoration of lost rights is the precondition of liberty.

“A conquered people surely ‘discriminates’ against their conquerors by disdaining them and regretting their very presence – they would have to be inhuman not to. In the battle between ‘democracy’ and justice, libertarians take the side of the latter in any and all cases. And in this case, the line is sharply drawn. On one side, we have those who uphold the alleged democratic ‘right’ of the majority to expropriate the property and liberty of the minority. On the other side of the barricades stands a people who just want their country back,” Raimondo wrote.

On the other side of the political spectrum is Hans A. von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the conservative right wing think tank Heritage Foundation.

Writing in National Review Online, von Spakovsky described Guam’s plebiscite restrictions as more extreme than anything that was in place in the South during the height of Jim Crow.

“Southern states such as Mississippi tried to make it as difficult as possible for blacks to vote through literacy tests, poll taxes, and other obstacles, but some small percentage of blacks were still able to get through this thicket of discrimination to actually register and vote. Guam, on the other hand, bars anyone who is white, Asian, or Filipino from voting in this plebiscite, and even makes it a crime for them to try to register,” von Spakovsky wrote.

The Heritage senior fellow also criticized the Obama Justice Department for refusing to enforce federal voting rights laws in a race-neutral manner when Dave Davis first filed a complaint way back in 2009.

According to von Spakovsky, a Justice Department source familiar with the Davis complaint told him the word quickly came down from the political appointees in the front office of the Civil Rights Division that no action would be taken after Davis complained to the Obama Justice Department about racial discrimination in 2009.

“As with the voter intimidation lawsuit filed by the Bush administration against the New Black Panther Party – which was quickly dismissed by the Obama administration even though the case had been won – Davis’ complaint was ignored,” von Spakovsky wrote, adding it was apparently Obama administration policy now for the Voting Rights Act NOT to be enforced against racial minorities, no matter how egregious the violation.

“The fact that this racial discrimination continues to take place under the nose of the U.S. Department of Justice is unconscionable. ... What is tragic (and infuriating) about this lawsuit is not just that the government of Guam believes it can engage in such flagrant racial discrimination without consequence, but also that the Justice Department agrees,” von Spakovsky wrote.

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