When George W. Bush appointees at the Justice Department used political considerations in hiring career employees, official Washington exploded in outrage. Yet we hear barely a peep of protest now as the Obama Justice Department does the same thing for liberal ends.
On Friday, Thomas E. Perez, chief of the Civil Rights Division at Justice, announced 16 hires and promotions for “career” - as opposed to “political” - slots. An apolitical hiring process would have included a few random attorneys somewhere to the right of the late Ted Kennedy - but not here.
Among the new hires are: Sharyn Tejani comes from the National Partnership for Women and Families, a hotbed of liberal activism, where she served as one of the lead attorneys filing a Supreme Court brief supporting an explicitly race-based refusal to promote white firemen in New Haven, Conn. Aaron Schuham comes directly from Americans United for Separation of Church and State - a group so leftist, it has argued the Obama administration isn’t liberal enough. Audrey Wiggins comes from another liberal bastion, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which also filed a brief against the white firefighters. Bryan Sells comes from the American Civil Liberties Union, as does Meredith Bell-Platts.
John “Bert” Russ, promoted to special litigation counsel for the Voting Section, is a frequent contributor to Democratic campaigns, including President Obama’s. New Voting Section deputy chief Sarabeth Donovan is known for overseeing the department’s responses, or in this case extreme unresponsiveness, to Freedom of Information Act requests involving the New Black Panther controversy. Mr. Perez also made permanent the appointment of Rebecca Wertz as the principal deputy chief of the Voting Section. Ms. Wertz’s management of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act has been so lackluster that military-rights groups are screaming about disenfranchisement of American troops.
If this isn’t a politicized department, nothing is. Last month, Christopher Coates, a former ACLU attorney who blew the whistle on the Black Panther case, told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that criticism of Bush hiring practices - when the current Civil Rights Division is so brazenly “left-liberal” - is “akin to Pete Rose criticizing Willie Nelson for not paying his federal income tax,” or for “Snooki on the show ‘Jersey Shore’ to criticize Lady Gaga for dressing extravagantly.”
On Sept. 9, 2009, The Washington Post editorialized: “Mr. Holder must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors. If it was wrong then to fill career slots only with ‘loyal Bushies,’ it would be wrong now to reserve slots only for committed liberals seeking to make up for lost time.” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s team deserves to be blasted now that it’s implementing exactly such an injustice.