Support And Elect Moe Davis For Congress

This is a small blog in the scheme of things. We seriously do try to get things right though. If there is a lasting hallmark, let it be that. We also, assiduously, try to stay out of primary politics.

There is one primary that is done and over though, and that is in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. NC-11. The Democratic nominee there is Moe Davis. Mr. Davis is not only a fantastic candidate, he is a friend to several of us at this blog, and not just through the electrons that are the internet, we know him in person. Moe is the real deal.

But since this can only go out via the electrons, here is a synopsis:

“Moe Davis is a retired Air Force Colonel, former Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, Director of the Air Force Judiciary, law professor, judge, speaker, writer and national security expert”

How did we here at Emptywheel come to know Moe? It almost seems quaint anymore. It was because of Guantanamo, the wrongs occasioned there and the few that stood up in the face of that failure. Moe was not just one, but was willing to be the face for the many.

In 2007, while serving as Chief Prosecutor for Terrorism Trials at Guantanamo Bay, Davis dared to take on the Bush Administration. He was ordered to use evidence obtained through torture in his prosecutions. Davis refused. That decision came at a price; to uphold his principles, Davis had no choice but to resign his position at Guantanamo. Davis believes the Legion of Merit was initially withheld as punishment for defying the Bush Administration before he finally received the honor.

For his stand against torture and the political pressure placed on prosecutors at Guantanamo, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) honored Davis by including him in, “Those Who Dared: 30 Officials Who Stood Up For Our Country.”

That was not the last time Davis stood up for what he believed was right. In 2008, after retiring from the Air Force, Davis became assistant director and senior specialist in national security for the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. But when Davis wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal that was critical of the Obama Administration’s handling of prosecutions at Guantanamo Bay, he was fired.

Davis challenged his dismissal in court, believing his First Amendment right to free speech was infringed. He ultimately won his suit and received the Justice Charles E. Whittaker Award for professional courage and integrity. He also was given the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award.

Why take a stand and risk his career? As Davis said, borrowing from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s familiar theme, “It’s always the right time to do the right thing.”

Indeed, it is always the right time to do the right thing. The right thing is Go help this man get to Congress.

23 replies
  1. Reader 21 says:

    Awesome post, bmaz—thank you. We need more with his character and courage serving, especially in these troubled times. Love this guy. Will go to his website and chip in what I can. Thank you for sharing and posting.

  2. Eureka says:

    I don’t “know” him know him at all, but took a liking to him via his twitter support of Kathy Griffin in her 1A & related battles with the Trump machine (besides his substantive accomplishments and principled stances as you document). I was thrilled to see, first, that he’d decided to run, and then when he won the primary.

    Out-of-stater heartily endorses!

  3. Jim White says:

    Seconding Moe being the real deal. Only had the pleasure of interacting once, but was mightily impressed. Sent some support his way in the primary and will send more as the general election gets closer.

    • rosalind says:

      yeah, the Wheelie dinner w/the Col during San Jose Netroots is a favorite memory. will definitely show him some love.

  4. Droopy says:

    The 11th is the westernmost part of NC with most of Asheville carved out. It’s currently/previously? represented by Mark Meadows.

  5. Queen Verbena says:

    Resident of NC-11, and long-time lurker here. So glad to be able to support Moe Davis, and to learn that he’s known and admired by some on this blog makes it even better!

      • I am sam says:


        Just made a small contribution, but all helps. He needs $3 million to beat the Mark Meadows leftovers. NC 11th is the district of my mother’s relatives and next door to me in Tennessee.

        Please give whatever you can. It is so easy online.

    • John Clarke says:

      I live in the district and got to meet Moe Davis at a meet the candidates event in our county before the primary. I was impressed! Hopeful he will be the guy to flip this newly un-gerrymandered district.

  6. BobCon says:

    A bit off topic, but on the subject of standing up to power, Joseph Lowery died yesterday at age 98.

    Lowery was a cofounder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and helped lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott, along with other key efforts of the civil rights movement.

    As Bmaz surely knows, Lowery was also a key figure of the case Sullivan v. NY Times, which established critical protections against frivolous defamation suits.

    Before Sullivan, one of the key means of segregationists for supressing opposition was using defamation suits in friendly courts to obtain punishing settlements. Lowery and three other civil rights leaders took out an ad in the NY Times that criticized Montgomery police. Police commissioner Sullivan was not named in the suit, but he sued anyway, and was awarded $500,000 from the Times and the leaders, almost $4 million in today’s dollars. Lowery had a substantial part of his property seized as a result.

    It took almost four years before the case was finally settled by the Supreme Court against Sullivan, establishing the broader protections we have today.

    Trump, Devin Nunes, and other odious people are using libel and defamation suits today to try to crush opposition, and there is little doubt that their endgame is to roll back Sullivan protections. Things are ugly today, but they would be a lot worse if we didn’t have people like Joseph Lowery standing up against even worse odds.

  7. rosalind says:

    for those unable to donate online, the campaign IS accepting checks. Make them out to “Moe Davis For Congress” and mail to: PO Box 18584, Asheville NC 28814

  8. Hcgorman says:

    Thank you Bmaz for supporting Moe. As you might recall Moe and I were not the best of friends at the beginning of the Gtmo litigation. But as time when on and Moe came to realize the problems with Guantanamo he became a steadfast hero fighting the very serious problems inherent in the philosophy that led to the creation of the prison and the continuation of the prison. I was on several panels with Moe back in the day and I came to respect him for the role he took in questioning the military , our government and the prison. A role that cost him at least one job!
    We need people like Moe in Congress and I can’t think of a better seat than this one in North Carolina.
    There are still 40 men at Guantanamo. Most have never been charged with anything. I still have one client there. He has been held for 18 years and his uncharged “crime” was to be in a fucking guest house (think b&b) where another “guest” was “thought” to be a terrorist. “Thought to be” being the key words… the government eventually came to realize that the person they thought was a terrorist was not, and yet my client remains —- uncharged and held all of these years. A victim of guilt by association! And in this case it was a mistake all along.
    My clients latest appeal is sitting in the dc appellate court awaiting a ruling.
    I urge people to support Moe.

    • bmaz says:

      And Carol Rosenberg reports that yet another judge just up and quit. There are never going to be trials down there.

  9. Reader 21 says:

    @bobcon—appreciate the moving tribute to Joseph Lowery—guess I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did about Sullivan v NYT. Very relevant to these times.

  10. vvv says:

    I just want to comment that I’ve kicked money (not a lot, but what I got) at least three times to candidates I’ve never heard of before because of this site. *Grrrr!*

    And this site …

    • bmaz says:

      Welp, thank you. Not sure who the other candidates are, but this one I can and will personally vouch for. And I can easily say, you will not see many posts here like this; we just do not normally do that. Several of us have spent some time, drinks and steaks with Moe.

      It is Mark Meadows’ former district. So the change would be remarkable. It is getting more purple, and Moe may have a real shot. But nobody has a shot without money to campaign on. Every bit helps.

      • vvv says:

        I respond in the hope of “inspiring” others; I mean, I can’t even name who is running against McConnell, just that I kicked some $. There’s another one or two I don’t recall … And also for Marie Newman against the undercover Republican soon to be formerly-known-as-Sen. Lipinski.

        • P J Evans says:

          I think Lipinski is a congressperson, not a Senator. And ISTR it’s McGrath running against Mitch.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes correct, but Lipinski is truly horrible. And Marie Newman already beat him in the primary, so that was a great place to park a couple of bucks. And, yeah, Amy McGrath is the one running against McConnell. While she is certainly far better than Mitch, and in spite of her personal history in the military, McGrath has a couple of warts. Am less sanguine about her chances.

          • vvv says:

            I only claim to know rock-n-roll and related bass/guitar/recording stuff, and, mebbe, BI; after that – what actions *I* do myself (not responsible for reports on Saturday or Sunday – some Thursday and Friday and Tuesday – mornings). I commented on Lipinski in another thread’s comments – I had a very bad impression meeting him at a train station a few years ago – thoroughly dis-likable. I’m not necessarily hot on Newman, either; based on her “do-gooder” ads, but she has to be better than than the alleged-Dem right-to-lifer. And yep, McGrath – I have no problem with the concept of “the lesser evil” – defines politics, IMNSFHO.

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