Friday, January 16, 2009

How the Bush administration screwed up the Civil Rights Division...

...with the help of the Federalist Society.

I haven't found the report yet, but the summary on the NYT's editorial page is frightening (although we already knew how Bush and Gonzales politicized the DoJ). I guess I'm going to one of those attorneys that isn't a "Real American."

The report found that a former senior Justice Department official, Bradley Schlozman, set out to hire so-called “Right-Thinking Americans,” including members of the Federalist Society and other Republicans, for what were supposed to be apolitical career positions. He then gave them plum assignments on civil rights cases when he was helping to run the Civil Rights Division, beginning in 2003.

The report also concluded that Mr. Schlozman, who left the Justice Department in 2007 amid the uproar over the dismissal of at least eight United States attorneys, which led to Mr. Gonzales’s resignation, gave false statements to Congress when he repeatedly denied factoring politics and ideology into his hiring decisions.

The report’s case against Mr. Schlozman relies heavily on his words, from e-mail and phone messages to colleagues and underlings. His disdain for the traditional independence and mission of the Civil Rights Division is palpable. He spoke brazenly about reshaping the division by doing away with “pinko” and “crazy lib” lawyers and others he did not consider “real Americans.”

“As long as I’m here, adherents of Mao’s Little Red Book need not apply,” he wrote in one e-mail message. The report found that Mr. Schlozman transferred three lawyers out of the division because they were viewed as liberals who opposed his political agenda. The transfers, the report found, violated federal civil service law and “constituted misconduct.” All three lawyers brought federal discrimination claims and returned to the division after Mr. Schlozman’s departure.

While he was a senior official in the division, political appointees overruled career lawyers to approve a Texas redistricting law that clearly violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act, as well as a plainly unconstitutional voter identification law in Georgia that amounted to a modernized poll tax.

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