Published May 09, 2012
The Justice Department has blocked one of its civil rights analysts from dealing with all matters Mississippi after the employee apparently described the state as "disgusting and shameful" on Facebook -- comments that drew a rebuke Tuesday from Mississippi's secretary of state.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann expressed concern about the remarks considering his state is going to have to submit its latest voter ID law to the Justice Department for review, and the employee in question works as an analyst in the division that reviews those laws.
"A Justice Department employee stating our state is 'disgusting and shameful' is another indication Mississippi's voter ID submission will not receive fair consideration," he said in a statement. "The real problem is not the current culture of Mississippi, but the current culture of the Justice Department."
Hosemann called the remarks "unprofessional, unwarranted, irresponsible, and misguided."
In a letter obtained by FoxNews.com, the Justice Department wrote back Hosemann on Tuesday clarifying that the Facebook post "does not represent the views of the department regarding Mississippi."
Further, Voting Section Chief T. Christian Herren Jr. assured Hosemann that the department had "taken steps to ensure that this employee will not be assigned to matters involving the state of Mississippi for the time being." Herren said that while the employee reviews voting rights issues, the assistant attorney general in charge of the division makes the final call in those reviews -- and Mississippi wasn't in this employee's "regular area of responsibility" anyway.
The details of the Facebook post were first reported by ex-Justice official J. Christian Adams on a PJ Media blog. Adams wrote that the employee had posted: "Disgusting and shameful. Hey, that should replace the state motto: 'Mississippi: Disgusting and Shameful' ... forget the Magnolia State motto."
The Justice Department letter on Tuesday explained that the post was in reference to a University of Southern Mississippi basketball game where students apparently chanted "where's your green card" at a Puerto Rican player. Herren wrote that the employee was responding to a former co-worker's post on the incident, and that the post was "personal" and not "work-related."
Mississippi's new law would require voters to present a driver's license or other photo ID in order to cast a ballot.
The Justice Department has blocked other states from implementing such laws -- those states, as well as Mississippi, have those laws subject to Justice approval because of their history of racial discrimination.
Hosemann said earlier Tuesday that any employee making "such statements" should not be reviewing Mississippi's voter ID law, "or, for that matter, any state subject to Section 5" (of the Voting Rights Act).