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Fish v. Kobach resumed this morning with a debate over the issue of Secretary of State Kris Kobach calling another witness. Kobach’s team wanted to call Jo French, one of the small number of individuals who went through the State Election Board hearing for lack of documentary proof of citizenship (DPOC).

Judge Robinson ruled that their witness would be able to testify, but said that Secretary Kobach should have previously produced all the documentation for the six individuals who requested a hearing during discovery.

The Plaintiffs then argued that the additional cases demonstrated further evidence that DPOC presents a burden to Kansans attempting to register to vote. Judge Robinson ruled that these documents be admitted into evidence to accompany French’s testimony.

Steven Camerota on the stand.

Secretary Kobach then called Steven Camerota, the director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), to the stand.

Since 1996, Camerota has been with CIS, a think tank apart of the anti-immigration establishment and part of John Tanton’s organizational network. Tanton’s racist proclivities have been well documented, as has his role in creating many of the most significant nativist groups in the country. CIS was, in fact, originally a project of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the oldest of the nativist establishment groups. It was intentionally spun off to give the appearance of objectivity in the immigration debate.

Tanton’s role in founding CIS was briefly brought up in Camerota’s cross-examination,  as was Camerota’s use of the term “professional ethnics.” He also testified that he believes, “the English language is the glue that holds the country together.”

On redirect from Kobach, Camerota said that any claim that CIS is motivated by “racial and ethnic bias is ridiculous.” Continuing, Camerota claimed that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) “smears” people they disagree with and “routinely taints them with a racist brush.” Camerota also agreed with Kobach’s characterization of SPLC as opposed to the enforcement of immigration laws.

Camerota has also never published peer-reviewed articles on elections or turnout rates, and his testimony still waits for an admissibility ruling from Judge Robinson.

After Camerota, Kobach then called Jo French to the stand. French participated in a State Election Board hearing because she lacked DPOC. French was born at home in Arkansas in 1941 and thus never had a birth certificate on file with the state. French instead, presented a family Bible where her name and birthdate or written, a baptism certificate, and a high school transcript as evidence of her citizenship in the hearing. While French testified that the process was not a burden to her, she did admit that she had to make several phone calls, rely on the help of friends, and pay $8 for Arkansas to check their records for a birth certificate. She also had to have a friend drive her 40 minutes to an in-person meeting with Secretary Kobach and the Attorney General of Kansas that included reporters to complete the process.

French also testified that she wanted to participate in the trail to make Secretary Kobach “look good” and because she did not want the fraud, she heard about on the TV.

Following French, Jessie Richman, a professor at Old Dominion University took the stand. After a heated exchange over Kobach again attempting to enter new numbers into the trial, Judge Robinson admonished Kobach to read the rules.

The day ended with Richman on the stand with Secretary Kobach in the middle of his examination.

The trial will pick back up tomorrow morning with the clear indication that the trail will extend into next week.

Zachary Mueller

Author Zachary Mueller

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