A bipartisan group of more than five dozen former state attorneys general on Monday issued a call for leaders — including the president — not to “equivocate” when faced with “the voice of hate.” In a statement, 66 former state and territorial attorneys general, including former Senators Joseph Lieberman and Slade Gorton, call for a strong response to groups like the Ku Klux Klan and others who espouse white supremacist views.
By way of example, the group points back to the 1970s and a young state attorney general in Alabama, Bill Baxley. When he “began his quest to bring justice to the perpetrators of the Birmingham church bombing which killed four little girls” by reopening the 1963 case, they write, he “faced political furor” and “threats of physical violence and death.”
In February 1976, in the midst of his efforts, the grand dragon of the KKK, Edward Fields, wrote a “threatening letter” to Baxley, demanding a response. “My response to your letter of February 19, 1976, is — kiss my ass,” Baxley wrote back the next day. He continued forward, and, in 1977, Baxley prosecuted and secured the conviction of Robert Chambliss in connection with the bombing.