By Quin Hillyer
(Originally published at CFIF Center for Individual Freedom)
According to every outlet of the establishment media, it was a near-earthshaking scandal when the Bush Justice Department rejected some applicants for “career” (officially non-political) jobs because the applicants were too liberal. “The entire Justice Department and all Americans were harmed” screamed the Washington Post. The New York Times, in high dudgeon, wrote that “the strength of American democracy depends on our ability to be shocked by abuses like these — and to punish them appropriately.”
The Post and the Times were crying crocodile tears. It wasn’t hiring bias to which they objected; it was merely conservative hiring bias that bothered them. Neither they nor any other establishment news organ seems the slightest bit perturbed now that, thanks to Pajamas Media, it is abundantly clear that the Obama Justice Department’s liberal hiring is far more politicized than anything the Bushies even dreamed of.
Despite deliberately weeding out hard leftists for some positions, the Bush Civil Rights Division hired as many as two dozen known liberals for career positions. No such reciprocity has come from the Obama DoJ. When I was at The Washington Times, we broke the story (in this editorial) that a whole slate of 16 new hires or promotions consisted of nothing but liberal activists. Again, if these are “career” slots in which political considerations are not supposed to prevail, it stands to reason that at least a reasonable percentage of the hires would lean right. But not here.
That Washington Times report was the tip of the iceberg. Now Pajamas Media has analyzed the hiring in five – count them, five – differentsectionsofDoJ. So far, those five sections in the Civil Rights Division have hired 70 lawyers. According to Pajamas, every single one – every single one, every single one, every single one – has boasted a resume full of ideologically leftist connections.
These people were members of groups like “Queer Resistance Front,” “Intersex Society of North America,” and of course People for the American Way. Their published essays focused on issues such as “Genital Normalizing Surgery on Intersexed Infants” and on arguing that providing material support for terrorism isn’t a war crime. They, or those promoted, have histories of extracurricular activities that include getting arrested at a World Bank protest, going on a hunger strike while chaining oneself to an oak tree and doing advocacy work for “the rights of incarcerated native Hawaiians to dance the hula and perform Hawaiian chants and rituals in privately owned prisons in Arizona.” A large number of them have donated significant campaign funds to Barack Obama, and some to other liberal candidates.
Not a single one has a single affiliation with any group seen as right of center. Actually, according to Pajamas, none is even apolitical. Instead, all are definitively liberal.
A departmental Inspector General report in 2008 stated flatly that “federal law and Department policy prohibit the use of political or ideological affiliations to assess applicants for career attorney positions in the Department and in the management of career attorneys.” And: “Identifying candidates as ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ by the activities or organizations with which they are affiliated can be used as a proxy for political affiliation and thus can violate CSRA’s prohibition.” Yet Loretta King, acting assistant attorney for civil rights, sent a memo to section chiefs telling them to consider, while hiring, a candidate’s “commitment to civil rights (e.g., extracurricular activities, volunteer work, internships).” She also reportedly nixed all candidates without affiliations with traditional (i.e., left wing) civil rights organizations, and ordered section chiefs not to inquire whether applicants felt they could apply the law in a race-neutral manner.
This would hardly be the first time that King has had her ethics questioned. Two other times, courts have imposed sanctions against King or attorneys under her direction for egregious conduct and forced the Justice Department – meaning American taxpayers – to pay fees to make up for the King-overseen misconduct.
None of this is merely a battle over political patronage. It has real-world consequences. Vicious New Black Panthers don’t get sanctioned for intimidating voters, but near-octogenarians do get sanctioned merely for trying to talk women out of abortions. Blacks who pass a firefighter entrance exam get blocked from being hired in favor of a larger number of blacks who badly failed the exam – the latter of whom, argued the Obama DoJ, also deserve back pay. Kinston, N.C., is forbidden to hold nonpartisan municipal elections because black voters supposedly won’t be able to identify their “candidates of choice” if those candidates aren’t identified as Democrats.
And so on and on go the outrageous stories of the legal abuses imposed by this horrendously ideological Justice Department. Whether or not the Washington Post or New York Times will recognize it, this is truly a scandal.