I asked a few days ago whether so called “values” focused conservatives were going to speak out against Georgia DA David McDade’s actions in the Genarlow Wilson case, and I suppose I’ve gotten my answer.Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr has penned an editorial lamenting the outspoken support for Genarlow Wilson, and defending Georgia DA David McDade’s decision to release a videotape of underage teens having sex, without even bothering to obscure the identities of individuals not involved in the case. Barr’s argument of course, rests on “State’s Rights,” which hints at his likely underlying motivation:

The department’s statement noted — correctly — that federal laws dealing with child pornography make the distribution thereof a crime. The federal government’s statement also correctly recognized, albeit implicitly, that Georgia law requires that “public records” (a term very broadly defined under state law) generally must be made available to the public.

In fact, “public records” under our state laws explicitly includes exhibits generated or used in criminal and civil trials such as Genarlow Wilson’s.

Insofar as both the U.S. and Georgia constitutions provide for trials in criminal cases to be open to the public, clearly it makes sense for the evidence in such cases to be similarly open to inspection by the public. Only if there is evidence that a court explicitly orders be kept under seal, such as might otherwise endanger life or an ongoing investigation, is it proper for a public official, such as a district attorney, to refuse to make records of a trial available publicly, following conclusion of the case.

The Georgia Open Records Act is even more explicit. If the judge with jurisdiction over a case does not approve public inspection of the evidence, the person responsible for the maintenance of the evidence, including a district attorney, is then required by the law to make available a reproduction or copy.

It will be up to a judge to decide whether DA McDade was acting in accordance with State law, and if he was, whether or not he is liable for the federal crime of distributing child pornography. The U.S. Attorney’s office has already said he has violated federal law with his actions, and Rainbow/PUSH has filed a formal complaint, so we’ll see how that goes.

And is it just me, but does Barr’s argument allow for the possibility of child porn being distributed in any case in which it is introduced as evidence? So I suppose Barr would not object to a DA distributing child porn found on the computer of someone who is accused of possessing child porn? Wouldn’t that make the government a regular supplier of something that is supposed to be illegal?

But perhaps Barr’s opinion on the Genarlow Wilson case is best understood by looking at his extensive record of “public service.”

Barr is a veteran of the Republican hypocritical “values” movement. He was one of the more zealous advocates of the Clinton impeachment, and tried to pass laws “defending marriage” despite his own long, turbulent history with the institution.

Barr’s case is yet another bizarre coda to the impeachment saga. Among the documents submitted in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, was a section of The Flynt Report, the 1999 document by the Hustler publisher that shone a spotlight on the private lives of the House impeachment managers and other moralizing Republicans. The report calls Barr “a twice-divorced family values cheerleader … who condoned an abortion, committed adultery and failed to tell the truth under oath” in a 1986 deposition.

That’s right, the man who wanted Clinton impeached for receiving a blowjob, and Genarlow Wilson to spend ten years in prison for getting one, is a thrice married man who has also perjured himself on the issue of abortion.

This is Barr’s oddly personal statement on Wilson himself:


As distressing as are the continuing efforts by many community leaders to clothe Wilson with the halo of victim-hero, the vilification first of state Attorney General Thurbert Baker and now Douglas County District Attorney David McDade is truly reprehensible.

To Barr, it is distressing that people would be trying to free a man who has already spent three years in prison for a crime he did not commit. If that seems irrational, that’s because Barr has a history of irrationality when it comes to black people in particular. Like Giulani Campaign official Arthur Ravenel, Barr is fond of one of the nation’s oldest white supremacist groups, the Council of Conservative Citizens. From a 2002 article from Salon:

He is suing the trio for allegedly violating a statute known as the Ku Klux Klan Act. That law allows for compensation to “any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws.” There is a hint of irony in Barr’s bringing a civil rights suit under a statute named for a racist organization, since leftist groups like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting have long raised questions about his connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group he addressed in 1998.

Few of us should be shocked someone who is defending the distribution of child pornography to prevent a black man who is wrongly imprisoned from being released has connections to white supremacists. I doubt there is anything that DA McDade could have done to keep Wilson in prison that Barr would not have found justifiable, given his beliefs.

Allow me to briefly reiterate the white supremacist bonafides of the CofCC. From the Anti-Defamation League website:

Advances its ideology by inflaming fears and resentments, among Southern whites particularly, with regard to black-on-white crime, non-white immigration, attacks on the public display of the Confederate flag, and other issues related to “traditional” Southern culture.

“Traditional issues”. Like, for example, “state’s rights”. In this context, code for letting Georgia treat its black residents without any regard for law or justice.

It’s a shame that Bob Barr hates blowjobs so much that he wants to have people impeached or imprisoned for getting them. But that sounds like a personal problem, and not one anyone else should have to suffer for.

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