The rot in the Obama/Holder Justice Department, especially in its Civil Rights Division, is a particularly important topic to me, and a big sore spot (as well as a threat to the constitutional order).
Thus I was particularly aghast to see the New York Times the other day run a truly bizarre story attempting, somehow, to show that the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice has been wonderfully de-politicized by the Obamites. The story is bizarre because the facts cited within the article show precisely the opposite.
Here’s how the NYT (via reporter Charlie Savage) frames the story: “Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has reversed a pattern of systematically hiring conservative lawyers with little experience in civil rights, the practice that caused a scandal over politicization during the Bush administration.” The Times then goes to great lengths to explain that those hired by the Obama team came from law schools with higher “ranks” than did the Bush hires (”more selective law schools,” in another description), and that those hires had far more “experience in civil rights.”
Having a “background in civil rights” is a self-defining criterion — as defined by the Left. As the story itself explained it, the definition of “civil rights” experience is self-limiting, because it encompasses (only) “traditional civil rights organizations with liberal reputations, like the American Civil Liberties Union or the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.”
Of course, all sorts of right-leaning organizations also are concerned with civil rights, as are lawyers in private firms who fight against absurd actions by these liberal groups that purport to be in favor of “civil rights” but that in conservative understandings actually undermine civil rights. If one defines “experience in civil rights” as encompassing only lefty versions of civil rights, then, of course, more Obamite hires will show such “experience” on their resumes. But that does NOT mean that they are the only ones who have done legal work dealing with civil rights issues.
Here are the key facts, dutifully reported by the Times but buried and spun so that the real import is hidden:
At the same time, there was a change in the political leanings of organizations listed on the résumés, where discernible. Nearly a quarter of the hires of the Bush group had conservative credentials like membership in the Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association, while only 7 percent had liberal ones.
By contrast, during the first two Obama years, none of the new hires listed conservative organizations, while more than 60 percent had liberal credentials. They consisted overwhelmingly of prior employment or internships with a traditional civil rights group, like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Look at that again. Not one single new hire for a “career” position by the Obamites had any prior conservative associations. Not one. If that isn’t a sign of true politicization, nothing is. There is quite literally no way that an apolitical hiring practice could fail to snag at least a single conservative, from 120 hires, in a nation that is majority center-right and with a very large conservative plurality.
If the establishment media had an ounce of intellectual integrity — yeah, I know, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride — then this report would be treated as a major scandal.
This topic merits far lengthier exposition and discussion, but for now suffice it to say that a Civil Rights Division that absolutely excludes conservatives is a sign of viewpoint discrimination that itself should trigger a civil rights investigation — and investigation into the Civil Rights Division itself, one which ought to take some real scalps, starting with that of flagrantly dishonest division chief Thomas E, Perez.
Meanwhile, in sad news that further indicts the DoJ, Hans von Spakovsky writes that whistleblower Christopher Coates, with a tremendous amount of terrific “civil rights experience,” effectively has been hounded out of the Justice Department that he has served with great distinction for nearly two decades. This comes after he first was, in effect, banished from Washington, all for the sin of trying to enforce laws against racist New Black Panthers to the letter of the law.
Today at the Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Rabinowitz was referring more to the terrorism-related actions/inactions of DOJ than to the other Civil Rights Division problems when she wrote that a good Republican candidate for president “would do well to give time and all due detail—the material is rich—on the activities of the Justice Department under President Obama, the most ideologically driven one in U.S. history. He would make the connection between the nature of this Justice Department and the president’s view of the American nation.” But her advice applies across the board, including and especially to the Civil Rights Division.