This column by ACRU Policy Board members J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky was published April 5, 2016 by PJ Media.
Despite being exposed before, nothing has changed.
In 2011, we produced the Every Single One series for PJ Media about an unprecedented wave of ideological hiring of leftist attorneys into the career ranks of the Justice Department. The series documented the partisan and radical background of every single one of the 113 new Justice Department lawyers hired into the Obama Civil Rights Division from January 2009 to January 2011.
With the help of PJ Media, we will now be updating that revealing report — and sharing details about the background of Justice Department attorneys hired since 2011. Because we have obtained all of the resumes of the attorney hires in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice since then.
And once again, every single one of them has an intensely ideological background.
PJ Media will feature them over the coming days. We will share their backgrounds, their involvement in partisan or leftist causes, and what they highlighted on their resumes to land jobs at the Justice Department. We will start with the Voting Section, where both of us once worked.
When we are finished, you will see that the Obama Justice Department has assembled a law firm of hundreds of fringe leftists to enforce a brave new vision of civil rights law.
Why the Civil Rights Division? Simple — it may be one of the most powerful components of the entire federal government. If a president wanted to “fundamentally transform” the nation, he would likely start with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
The tentacles of the Division reach into virtually every crevice of American life. Federal statutes, under the banner of protecting civil rights, reach home lending, football stadium and theater seating, voting, elections, education, college admissions, apartment rentals, prisons, hiring practices, the use of English, special education programs, religious liberty, abortion clinic protests, arrests, law enforcement, voter rolls, insane asylums, state and local government hiring, swimming pool lift chairs, bathtub design, Spanish language ballots, school discipline, and even if boys can dress in drag in high school.
This list barely scratches the surface of the scope of the Civil Rights Division’s powers.
If a president wanted to transform a nation, he would unleash hundreds of crusading leftist lawyers who hold views far outside of the American mainstream and give them power to push the frontiers.
That’s exactly what has happened in places Americans had hardly heard of before 2011 — places like Ferguson.
The first step of the president’s and the attorney general’s “fundamental transformation” was finding fellow travelers with law degrees. Without hiring hundreds of lawyers committed to the president’s vision of transformation into powerful career positions within the Justice Department, the effort would likely fail.
The homogenous ideological backgrounds of the attorneys hired in the Civil Rights Division are essential to understanding what has happened to the nation.
The Justice Department’s own inspector general recognized this as a problem in a report he released in 2013. The report criticized the Division’s Voting Section for hiring a majority of its lawyers from only five well-known liberal advocacy organizations (including the National Council of La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund) and passing “over candidates who had stellar academic credentials and litigation experience with some of the best law firms in the country.”
If you don’t think these individual attorneys are an essential part of the transformation, then you don’t understand how things really get done inside the Justice Department. It is the attorneys who pick the cases they pursue, usually from the swarm of incoming complaints they get, some from citizens, but many from the very same advocacy organizations where those attorneys used to work. Some complaints get relegated to the waste bin.
For example, within the Civil Rights Division, complaints by white voters go nowhere in the Voting Section, and complaints by white victims of racially motivated violence go nowhere even faster in the Criminal Section. The latter is too busy protecting only “traditional racial minorities,” as former Attorney General Holder characterized it to Congress.
During the Bush years, when we were at the Justice Department, the advocacy organizations that comprise the Soros-funded, bricks-and-mortar Left had the vapors over the Bush DOJ hiring a handful of eminently qualified conservative lawyers. Mind you, there was a far larger number of left-wing lawyers hired during the same period. But a conservative lawyer is considered an antibody inside the Civil Rights Division. Conservatives (or mere non-leftists, for that matter) slow down the lockstep march of the true believers, and therefore must be attacked.
After the inauguration in 2009, the Obama Justice Department created committees to vest preliminary hiring authority in long-time career lawyers. Those career lawyers were invariably hired themselves during the Clinton years, and were reliably liberal. They could be counted on to self-replicate. Thus, they developed hiring criteria called a “demonstrated commitment to civil rights.” Naturally, their skewed version of civil rights was the “commitment” against which applicants would be judged.
It proved to not be the same commitment to civil rights most Americans believe in.
For example: if you believed that the color of your skin and not the content of your academic record should help you get into college if you are a “person of color,” that qualified as “demonstrated commitment to civil rights.”
If you believed that it was okay for the New Black Panthers to stalk a polling place with a weapon because they were a historically oppressed race, and that the civil rights laws passed in 1965 weren’t meant to stop intimidation being conducted by blacks, that too is a “demonstrated commitment to civil rights.”
If you oppose voter ID because you think black voters are too “unsophisticated” to know how to get voter ID — an argument the Obama administration has actually made in litigation in North Carolina — then that’s a “demonstrated commitment to civil rights.”
The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded the hiring policies should be changed to eliminate this perceived bias toward the left. But former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Tom Perez refused to implement a more fair hiring system. For this adherence to a rigged outcome, Perez was promoted to secretary of Labor and is now mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick.
And so we watched what happens when you fill the government with radicals: radical policies follow.
We documented instance after instance after instance of abuse of power by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. In some cases it involved theft and perjury. In others it involved high heels and comfort horses. It also included “grotesque prosecutorial abuse.” In nearly every instance it involved ideas far outside the mainstream of American life, and far outside the limited legal, statutory authority of the Division.
The old adage goes “personnel is policy.”
If presidential candidates really want to stop the madness, the first place to look is the Civil Rights Division. Many may have read our work at PJ Media and simply assumed a new president can just snap his or her fingers in January 2017 and make it all go away. But alas, no. Most of the lawyers we featured in 2011 are embedded career civil servants and cannot be removed because of the restrictions of a merit protection system 100 years out of date.
But, as one former top political appointee in the Reagan administration once told us, they can be sent to a “Turkey Farm,” a place where turkeys go to feed and cause no more trouble.
An incoming president can also reassign Senior Executive Service staff to other areas of the Justice Department (or other executive agencies), and even far outside of Washington, D.C., where they can no longer engage in the political mischief and obstructionism that is their raison d’etre.
Importantly, many of the most recent hires we will name are still within their probationary periods as federal employees. When a new president takes the oath of office in January 2017, some of these lawyers will still not have vested. The extent that each lawyer participated in misbehavior and outlandish legal arguments should determine his or her future.
Let’s hope we get a president who is actually willing to clean up the Division that the DOJ inspector general said showed a “disappointing lack of professionalism.” As he observed, changes are needed to ensure both the “professionalism and impartiality that are rightly expected and demanded by the public of the Department of Justice.”