Tuesday, March 9, 2021

#2449: J. Christian Adams

John Christian Adams is an attorney and activist formerly employed by the Department of Justice (under Bush) and generally famous for his alarmist and false claims about the extent of voter fraud in the US and for being one of the most vocal supporters of voter suppression. Adams has falsely accused a number of legitimate voters of being fraudulent, including publishing information (including Social Security numbers) about them online. As a result, he was appointed to Donald Trump’s election integrity commission. Adams is also a contributor to Pajamas Media and a relatively frequent guest on wingnut talk shows and radio show.


Adams is president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), a group that advocates for stricter voter ID laws, and he has asserted that there is an “alien invasion” at the voting booth (providing evidence to back up his claims is apparently an idea he hasn’t quite internalized: Adams has described those who say there is no evidence of systemic voter fraud as “flat-earthers”. He does not anywhere actually provide the requested evidence.) His foundation has worked tirelessly to sue counties to force them to purge their voter rolls and exposing people he, also with scant evidence, believes should be purged. In 2019 he was at least forced to settle a lawsuit (and provide an apology) filed by voters in Virginia that he falsely accused, in a ridiculous report called “Alien Invasion in Virginia”, of being non-citizens who had voted. After the November 2020 election, Adams’s organization has of course filed several unfounded lawsuits claiming election fraud.


But Adams has views on matters beyond voting right, too. Adams is, for instance, a staunch defender of his own interpretation of religious freedom, and claims that it should be fine to discriminate against those who have different religious views than you in housing, employment or public accommodations because the Bible (as he reads it) demands it and because not being able to discriminate on the basis of religion “intrudes on their free exercise of faith”. And organizations that promote efforts to prevent discrimination based on religion – those that in fact support religious freedom – are “filled with hostility toward people of faith”. (Adams says nothing about the right of people of other religions or none to discriminate against Christians in employment or housing, of course.) 


A tireless critic of imagined cases of reverse racism, Adams has also argued that confederate monuments should be maintained because such monuments remind us why the US is such a great country. Meanwhile, efforts to remove Confederate monuments are part of the Left’s quest for a “big-government Utopia” and “to get rid of the American Revolution.” No, it’s not a particularly coherent analysis or critique. Coherence was never a relevant standard for J. Christian Adams.  


Diagnosis: A respected and powerful figure on the radical right, Adams is usually more of a villain than an idiot, but he doesn’t always manage to stay on the, uh, right side of that divide and has bought into a number of idiotic conspiracy theories. Dangerous.


  1. If Adams is a "tireless critic of imagined cases of reverse racism," that would mean he doesn't believe in reverse racism. I'm guessing that's not what you meant.

    1. No ... there is a scope ambiguity here, I realize.