Rep. Louie Gohmert dismissed a measure designed to prevent discrimination, by mockingly referencing the rights of "the Delta Smelt, the snail darter, various lizards, the lesser prairie chicken."
Gohmert, R-Texas, was discussing a measure that would prevent third parties from intervening in regulations to prevent discrimination on the basis of race, gender or religion, a measure that wound up failing in the House Judiciary Committee.
As the Huffington Post explains:
The hearing was convened to discuss the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, a House bill that, according to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), "could be used to prevent federal regulatory actions from being implemented."
Gohmert was responding to an amendment to the bill presented by Conyers and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.). The amendment would prevent third party intervention in regulatory action that would protect individuals from discrimination based on sex, race or national origin.
Gohmer argued that the measure would mostly impact environmental and wildlife regulations:
There is nobody in this chamber who is more appreciative than I am for the gentleman from Tennessee and my friend from Michigan standing up for the rights of race, religion, national religion of the Delta Smelt, the snail darter, various lizards, the lesser prairie chicken, the greater sage grouts and so many other insects who would want someone standing for their religion, their race, their national origin and I think that’s wonderful.
"This is not a snail darter’s amendment, it is not an environmental amendment," Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., shot back. "It is a civil rights amendment, and we’re talking about the civil rights of people — the civil rights of people that have been violated egregiously for generations in this country."
Watch, via ThinkProgress: