The Rot at the Department of Justice


The two-month deadline for the Department of Justice (“DoJ”) to file its notice of appeal in the two Defense of Marriage Act (“DoMA”) cases arrives tomorrow – Tuesday, October 12th.  The Department’s politicized defense of has been so poor that Representative Lamar Smith has attempted to intervene in the cases stating that “DoJ’s current DOMA defense, which happens to fit no policy preferences, is really no defense at all.”  See Rep. Smith’s memorandum in support of his motion to intervene here (Gill v. OPM) and here (Mass. v. HHS).  We’ll wait to see what happens….

Politicization of the Obama DoJ can also be much more mundane but still vitally important to the proper governance of the nation: that is, it can also be about filling DoJ’s civil service or “career” legal positions with Leftist ideologues.  “Career” slots are not supposed to be filled by “political” operators – there are slots for political appointees.  Rather, career appointees are supposed to be individuals who can carry out the policies of administrations with differing political perspectives.

The Washington Times has an important editorial telling about sixteen recent hires in Civil Rights Division that were announced this past Friday:

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 Right 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.

Once these new hires attain tenure status at DoJ and have successfully “burrowed” into the department, it will be virtually impossible to get them out.

(Editorial, “Obama Justice Department Plays ‘Snooki’: On Hiring Practices, Left is the Only Way Up,” Washington Times (Oct. 11, 2010): p. B2.)


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