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Political Uniformity and Legal Radicalism at Obama's DOJ

Posted By Lachlan Markay On August 17, 2011 @ 2:01 pm In Scribe | Comments Disabled

The resumes of the Obama administration’s hires at the Justice Department Civil Right Division’s Special Litigation Section read like a manual on professional advancement in the world of left wing legal practice. Every one of the 23 career civil service attorneys hired since Obama took office has stellar liberal credentials.

That ideological uniformity, writes the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky [1], suggests that liberal politics are a “prerequisite for employment in the Division – there is no other explanation for this.”

The Special Litigation Section enforces civil rights laws on the state and municipal level, where there has been a “pattern or practice” of institutionalized discrimination. Very often that means prosecuting or otherwise acting against local and state police departments perceived as acting in a discriminatory fashion.

It is notable, then, that while numerous Obama hires at the Special Litigation Section have worked on behalf of criminal defendants or terrorist detainees, “not a single lawyer was hired with experience as a prosecutor or in law enforcement in a Section which has as one of its main jobs investigating the practices of local police.”

The Obama administration’s skewed approach in that regard suggests an extreme bias against the police departments investigated for alleged discriminatory practices.

Let’s review some of the highlights from the 23 attorneys’ backgrounds.

Some of the legal positions taken by various hires demonstrate their radically liberal approach to the law. They have argued at various times that:

  • The law is “a social tool that can be used to advocate on behalf of minorities in our criminal justice system”;
  • Convicted felons should enjoy voting rights;
  • A municipal decision to open homeless shelters only during the winter violates the constitutional rights of the homeless;
  • Racial discrimination affects prosecutors’ decisions to seek the death penalty;
  • “[T]he enforcement of the drug laws tend to encourage racial profiling”;
  • Detention of illegal immigrants is not lawful since they have not actually committed a crime.

Lawyers at the Special Litigation Section have cut their teeth at a host of left-wing legal organizations both prominent and obscure, including:

  • The American Civil Liberties Union;
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center;
  • The Public Justice Center, whose mission is “to enforce and expand the rights of people who suffer injustice because of their poverty or discrimination”;
  • The District of Columbia’s Prisoners’ Legal Services Project;
  • The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, which supported the nomination of left-wing radical Goodwin Liu to the Supreme Court;
  • Casa de Maryland, which, as von Spakovsky has documented, “has encouraged illegal aliens not to speak with police officers or immigration agents; it has fought restrictions on illegal aliens’ receiving driver’s licenses; it has urged the Montgomery County (Md.) Police Department not to enforce federal fugitive warrants; it has advocated giving illegal aliens in-state tuition; and it has actively promulgated “day labor” sites, where illegal aliens and disreputable employers openly skirt federal prohibitions on hiring undocumented individuals”;
  • The National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights, which bills itself as working “to spread understanding of liberal ideas and advance progressive values”;
  • Junta for Progressive Action, which works to “forbid police from asking about the legal status of immigrants who are crime victims or turning over any such information to federal immigration authorities.”

In short, they are, on the whole, outright hostile to much of the work done by local and state police. Obama hires at the Section represent a radical and uniformly left-wing approach to civil rights law promoted by the Obama Justice Department.

This is a trend at a number of offices in the Justice Department. Information on the Special Litigation section was released as part of Pajamas Media’s ongoing [2] investigation [3] into politicization at DOJ, and only after a drawn out Freedom of Information Act legal battle with Justice.


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/08/17/political-uniformity-and-legal-radicalism-at-obamas-doj/

URLs in this post:

[1] writes the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/every-single-one-the-politicized-hiring-of-eric-holders-special-litigation-section/?singlepage=true

[2] ongoing: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/every-single-one-the-politicized-hiring-of-eric-holder%E2%80%99s-voting-section/

[3] investigation: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/reviewing-the-resumes-the-politicized-hiring-of-eric-holder%E2%80%99s-voting-section/

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