The Blog

Revenge of the Liberal Bureaucrats

A new report on Bush administration hiring practices at Justice.

11:00 PM, Jan 22, 2009 • By HANS A. VON SPAKOVSKY
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Yet Fine and Jarrett rebuffed Schlozman's request that they include this information in the report. Instead, they opted to libel him, apparently to stir up Democratic hostility and thereby pursue their transparently political ends. The Schlozman list squarely rebuts the report's allegation of a political litmus test in hiring. The fact that such critical information was omitted demonstrates emphatically that Fine and Jarrett knowingly and deliberately misrepresented the facts to bolster their false and pre-determined findings.

The report also faults Schlozman for hiring 63 lawyers who were "Republican or conservative." As a threshold matter, the unstated (but quite clear) implication of this point is that conservative attorneys are somehow less qualified than liberal attorneys to work in the Civil Rights Division. I have no doubt that many of the Department's employees genuinely believe this. Perhaps this is why the Division has such a well-deserved reputation as a refuge of the radical left and why a virtual "No Vacancy" sign has historically been posted for any conservative who dared seek employment there.

Of course, in a Division known for its zealous enforcement of racial preferences and general hostility to law enforcement, it is unlikely that many conservatives even wanted to work in the Division prior to the Bush administration. So the fact that a significant number of conservatives came on board only after 2000 shouldn't be a shock to anyone.

When I was hired as a career lawyer in 2001 (two years before Schlozman even arrived), I was greeted with unrelenting hostility by the career staff once they discovered that I had a conservative philosophy and had been active as a volunteer in the Republican party. I was one of just two conservatives in the entire Voting Section, which had more than 80 lawyers and support staff. It was made crystal clear to me that the attorneys and staff considered anyone with a conservative ideology to be unqualified to work as a career civil servant, and they were absolutely furious that, despite their usual screening efforts, I had been hired.

This attitude was prevalent throughout the entire Division of almost 750 people. I mention this because, even if the claim about the 63 lawyers is correct and even if all such individuals remained today (which they clearly do not), it would mean that about 8 percent of the employees in Civil Rights today are conservatives. Yet even that 8 percent gives liberals such angst that trumped up inquiries are necessary.

It is hardly a secret that, until Ralph Boyd, the first Bush Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, changed the hiring procedures in 2001, the liberal career managers (many of whom have complained the loudest) made sure that no conservative applicants for career positions were hired. Searching for a conservative in the Civil Rights Division prior to 2001 was like Diogenes searching for an honest man in ancient Greece. The Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility were provided evidence of this discrimination during their investigation, but they were not interested in examining the hiring practices of the pre-Bush era. The one-way political ratchet once again.

It's a shame that Fine and Jarrett refused to look at the past. Few may know, for example, that on December 12, 2000, when Eric Holder was the Acting Attorney General and the Supreme Court issued its decision in Bush v. Gore, the Clinton political appointees realized that Democrats would lose control of the Justice Department. At that time, there were more than two dozen open career lawyer positions in the Civil Rights Division. In a federal government that usually takes months to fill career positions, the Clinton appointees (spearheaded by Acting Assistant Attorney General Bill Yeomans, now chief counsel to Sen. Ted Kennedy) filled all of those positions before Inauguration Day!

Every one of those hires was a liberal or a Democrat and, based on Yeomans emails, was sure to be "loyal." Based on what I saw when I arrived in the Division, this same hiring pattern had clearly been practiced during all eight years of the Clinton administration. Indeed, I cannot identify a single conservative who had been hired during the Clinton years. Neither Fine nor Jarrett ever expressed any interest in investigating this blatant "political" hiring either.