Maddow connects Cornyn’s blocking of DOJ nom to 1999 wrongful convictions of Black men

'She will win and he will lose. Again,' said Maddow

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Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, has been leading the charge to block Vanita Gupta from being confirmed as Associate Attorney General at the Justice Department. MSNBC host, Rachel Maddow, offered a possible explanation.

Maddow (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images) and Cornyn (Photo by Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

On Wednesday night, Maddow recounted the 1999 arrest of 46 people, and prosecution and conviction of 39 Black people in Tulia, Texas, based solely on the testimony of one man, Tom Coleman, an undercover police officer.

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Cornyn was attorney general of the state of Texas at the time and awarded Coleman with the Texas “Lawman of the Year” award after the convictions. However, that award was before Gupta came to the state to appeal the case.

“I wonder,” Maddow said. “I just wonder if Senator John Cornyn might be at all embarrassed about this and about the young lawyer who came to Texas and exposed this thing, this terrible and cartoonishly evil thing that he had helped along, that he had celebrated, that he had given an award to.”

Gupta who was, at the time, brand new in her role as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York. After learning about the case from a documentary, Gupta headed to Texas with a team of attorneys who filed appeals and discovered that Officer Coleman, on whose sole testimony the convictions were based, made frequent mistakes in identifying suspects, used racist language about the defendants, and was in the habit of writing down evidence on his leg, according to a blog post from NYU Law School that detailed the case.

Under her leadership, Gupta ultimately had all of the convictions overturned, every defendant in the case was pardoned by then-Governor Rick Perry, and Coleman was later convicted of perjury on an unrelated charge.

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Vanita Gupta delivers remarks after being nominated to be U.S. associate attorney general by President-elect Joe Biden at The Queen theater January 07, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Venita Gupta is going to be confirmed by the Senate ultimately,” Maddow concluded.

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“She will be the number three official at the U.S. Justice Department under Merrick Garland, despite Republican opposition to her led by the senator who she humiliated for his enabling, encouraging, celebrating role in one of the worst most racially-explosive astonishingly brazen law enforcement put-up jobs in the last generation.”

“Senator Cornyn, I do not know if he’s ashamed by his role in all that,” Maddow posited. “I wonder if he ever tried to get the award back.? But his effort to get revenge on the woman who had to come in and fix his mess, that effort will fail. She will win and he will lose. Again. God bless Texas.”

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