US Politics

Biden judicial nominee said border wall, voter ID laws ‘grounded in White supremacy’

Natasha C. Merle, nominee to be U.S.. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on judicial nominations in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

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President Biden’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York said during a recently unearthed podcast that Republican-backed policies like voter ID laws and the U.S.-Mexico border wall are rooted in White supremacy.

Biden announced Natasha Merle’s nomination along with seven other federal judicial nominees in January, aiming to fulfill a “promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country,” the White House said at the time.

Natasha C. Merle, nominee to be U.S.. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on judicial nominations in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Merle is the deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (NAACP LDF) and has recently taught courses on racial justice and racial equity at Columbia University and New York University.

During an episode of “The Breach” podcast immediately following the 2017 Charlottesville car-ramming attack, Merle criticized Republicans who denounced racism at the now-infamous Unite the Right rally but continue to support what she considers racist policies.

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“What we saw this past weekend in Charlottesville was horrible,” Merle said at the time. “And many people and Republicans and legislatures have come out to denounce neo-Nazis and White supremacy, but I think lawmakers need to and should do more.”

“You know, it’s inconsistent to denounce White supremacy but not repudiate voter ID laws, to not repudiate the Muslim ban, to not repudiate ‘the wall,’” she continued. “These are all things that support and are grounded in White supremacy. The voter ID bills disproportionately impact Black and Brown…

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