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Corey Stoughton @CoreyStoughton
, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Oh man, this takes me back. Let me tell you this story. 1/
It starts a week earlier. Our team in the Civil Rights Division sent letters to North Carolina saying HB2 is illegal. But notice the letters (which are in the public domain) never threaten a lawsuit. That’s because the AG still hadn’t authorised the suit. 2/
She’d ok’d the letters, of course, but there was still a debate raging inside DOJ about whether to give the political process more time, whether the feds suing a state over trans issues would provoke a backlash, whether it was better to leave the suit to rights groups, etc. 3/
One of the things that made Loretta Lynch a great AG was that she took her power seriously, used it carefully, and respected internal processes. Against the backdrop of the present officeholder, the value of that is obvious. But at the time, I remember feeling frustrated by it.4/
None of us knew where, exactly, the AG’s head was. In meetings, her style was to listen, let everyone be heard. She has a hell of a poker face. She was decisive when she needed to be but she hadn’t needed to make this decision yet. 5/
So we have this uncertainty hanging over us. Meanwhile, we have days of intense negotiations with state officials trying to persuade them to dump HB2. Everyone’s hope is that the letters will be enough and we won’t have to sue. For a while that seemed possible. 6/
But - of course - we were prepared for the contingency. We’d built the case. We had our legal memos, our witnesses, our evidence lined up. What we didn’t have was permission to pull the trigger when negotiations broke down, as it felt more & more certain they would. 6/
So here I am, very late one night, alone in my office putting finishing touches on a majestic complaint that I petulantly speculate may never see light of day. I’m doubting my decision to join this bureaucracy, doubting its fidelity to the trans people targeted by HB2. 7/
And then an email comes in. It’s the speech. Drafted for the contingency of filing suit, sent for review by the lawyers. I don’t read it at first. I find DOJ speeches extremely boring. 8/
And then I do read it. And I’m weeping. I hear the powerful words in the AG’s steady, thoughtful cadence. They demolish my ungenerous doubts and I’m shamed but also fortified by this reminder of how lucky I am to be working for justice in this place, at this time. 9/
Once my computer screen isn’t blurry through tears, I finish that majestic complaint. And I’m certain that, unless the Governor of North Carolina does something dramatic on Monday, it’s going to get filed. 10/
Of course, the peevish Governor did do something dramatic that Monday. He sued us before we could sue him. And the AG ... let’s just say, she was not pleased. But she was decisive. And that afternoon, she delivered that speech. And the rest is history. The End.
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