Attorney General Greg Abbott seems unsure whether he would defend a ban on interracial marriage if one were still in place, but judging by his answer the Dallas Morning News seems to think he would. Reporter Christy Hoppe said, “Abbott seemed to lean towards the answer, “yes.”
Abbott approached the question as if it were a strange hypothetical, even calling it so, but it is not — Texas’ anti-miscegenation law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1967 when Abbott was ten years old. That means he grew up seeing the destructive nature of forced segregation all around him and the answer to this question should have been an unequivocal “no.”
However when Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express-News editorial board posed the question to Abbott he attempted evade it. Fikac wrote, “When I said I wasn’t clear if he [Abbott] was saying he would have defended a ban on interracial marriage, he said, ‘Actually, the reason why you’re uncertain about it is because I didn’t answer the question. And I can’t go back and answer some hypothetical question like that.”
Maybe it’s because he is so used to being on the wrong side of history, as evident in his losing battle against marriage equality and his defense of $5.4 billion in cuts to public education. Abbott wants to be Governor but that position is reserved for leaders, not those too afraid of their base to do what is right — especially when it is so cut and dry.
Naturally the political right has come to his defense pointing out that his wife’s mother is Latina, but most of the nation’s anti-miscegenation laws only banned marriage between Whites and Blacks, or between Whites and Blacks, Asians and Native Americans.
Looking at his record on disability issues alone, we know that having personal perspective is not enough for Abbott to find compassion for others who may share his circumstance.
Even without these personal connections to the issue his answer, or lack there of, is inexcusable.
Abbott maintains his job as Attorney General is to “represent and defend in court the laws of their client, which is the state Legislature, unless and until a court strikes it down.” But he also has a history of shouting down and vilifying the federal government, and apparently even he thinks it is no stretch that he might have done the same with regards to the unanimous SCOTUS decision in Loving v. Virginia that struck down the nation’s remaining laws against interracial marriage.
It is sad looking at this map and seeing the old South being drug into to modern times and knowing that we don’t have an AG who with a clear enough conscience or moral compass to say he wouldn’t defend the indefensible.
Abbott’s primary excuse that he is just doing his job also contradicts what we have seen from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, whose job it was to defend the nation’s ban on same sex marriage in court. Holder declined to continue that fight, why? Because that fight is morally reprehensible.
The headline on this latest kerfuffle from the Quorum Report read, “Controversy erupts once again when Abbott is in a setting where follow-up questions are allowed.” This explains why Abbott did not want to debate Wendy Davis and why when he did, he had very strict rules of engagement. The problem is those are not characteristics of leadership, so let’s hope Texas voters start asking themselves a few follow up questions before they cast their ballot for someone who ultimately won’t be able to evade the challenges our great state faces today and in the future.
Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.