Scared White Republican Fear of the Day: Third-World Document-Review Terrorists

 Posted on September 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Harris County District Clerk candidate Chris "Lightweight" Daniel still (Chris Moran, Houston Chronicle) wants to build another County parking garage.

Also, he wants to use the office of District Clerk to fight the Global War on Terror:

"Online filing is today putting at risk the citizens of Harris County," Daniel said. Those files could have Social Security numbers and other information that could be stolen by identity thieves, or worse, he said. Daniel said he wants to introduce a technology that would redact compromising information as the documents are filed."If someone from a Third World country that's a terrorist wants to steal your identity, we want to make it as hard as possible," Daniel said.

This appeal to Scared White Republican voters is stupid (also shameless, but "stupid" is more salient).I don't know where I'd look to find Social Security numbers on the District Clerk's website. My best guess would be "in divorce decrees," but family-court documents are available only to Texas lawyers. So unless these Third-World Document-Review Terrorists who want to steal your identity are also licensed to practice law in Texas, they're not going to get your Social Security number there.

Social Security numbers could conceivably be listed in some sort of civil-court filing, but a conscientious lawyer would make sure his clients' SSNs don't appear in court filing. (The Federal courts deal with confidential information by reminding lawyers to redact it before filing.)

Why would the conscientious lawyer do that? Because it's the lawyer's responsibility, not the District Clerk's.

The District Clerk's duties, according to the Texas Government Code, are here (dealing with court files) and here (dealing with juries). You'll notice that nowhere in there is the District Clerk given authority to "redact compromising information as documents are filed." (Nor to build a parking garage.)

Why is Chris Daniel making campaign promises that are not even part of the District Clerk's job? Two reasons: first, because, never having practiced law (and being neither particularly bright nor particularly curious), Chris Daniel has no idea what the District Clerk does; and second, because, on the things that are within the District Clerk's responsibilities, Loren Jackson has done a terrific job.

The election of Chris "Lightweight" Daniel to the office of District Clerk would make the practice of law more difficult, make jury duty more onerous, make justice less accessible, and be an unmitigated disaster for everyone but Chris Daniel.

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