Far-left organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way have written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to insist that hiring decisions for the agency’s Civil Rights Division should be left to the entrenched bureaucrats who, in many cases, were put in place under the Obama administration.
“The division’s career staff must not be politicized by the incoming Justice Department political appointees,” they wrote in a letter dated April 11.
“We urge you to affirm your commitment to existing laws and equal employment opportunity (EEO) and hiring policies – including specific direction and training of incoming political appointees on the department’s EEO policies and civil service protections – that ensure that personnel decisions in the Civil Rights Division, and throughout the department, are made based on merit.”
The letter was in response to a request that came just days earlier from a coalition of experts on civil rights, asking Sessions to clean up the Civil Rights Division by removing political activists from leadership, ridding the office of “ideological rot” and stopping its bureaucrats from abusing their authority.
The first letter was initiated by J. Christian Adams, a former attorney in the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division who now leads the nonprofit Public Interest Legal Foundation. Signatories included Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation, William Pendley of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Joel Mandelman, a former counsel for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
The letter charged that the Civil Rights Division, during Barack Obama’s administration, “served purely ideological ends with rigidity unmatched in other federal offices.” “Entrenched federal bureaucrats jettisoned precepts like equal enforcement in favor of political and racialized dogmas,” it said. Adams said the “most important position General Sessions will fill in the DOJ is the AAG for Civil Rights.”
“For years, a radicalized Civil Rights Division heavy-handedly advanced leftists causes with respect to voting, law enforcement, immigration, and others while constitutional Rule of Law was considered a nuisance. General Sessions has an opportunity to begin the course correction necessary to protect all Americans from civil rights abuses.”
It was that division, when Adams still was working with the DOJ, that refused to finish the nearly completed prosecution of several New Black Panther Party members reported for voter intimidation in the 2008 election.
WND reported at the time when two party members were filmed standing in front of the entrance to a Philadelphia polling station in black uniforms, with one member wielding a club.
According to complaints, both men were pointing at voters and shouting racial slurs, using such phrases as “white devil” and, “You’re about to be ruled by the black man, Cracker!” But then-Attorney General Eric Holder ordered the cases dropped.
Shortly after, Adams resigned. “I was told by voting section management that cases are not going to be brought against black defendants on [behalf] of white victims,” Adams said in testimony before the Civil Rights Commission.
Adams was backed up by Christopher Coates, the former head of the voting section for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Coates had led the original investigation of the New Black Panther Party.
Coates stated in testimony, “I had people who told me point-blank that [they] didn’t come to the voting rights section to sue African-American people.”
The progressives’ letter to Sessions defends the status quo. “We write now to address a specific concern with the recommendation that ‘[t]he assistant attorney generals (sic) in each component division must preserve or reacquire hiring authority and not leave the decisions in the hands of career bureaucrats who are reliably opposed to President Trump’s agenda.'”
The new letter, signed by the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Public Citizen, Vote Rights Institute, Center for Media and Democracy, Centerlink: The Community of LGBT enters and Common Cause, cited concerns from 2008 that “a high ranking political appointee” reviewed “political and ideological affiliations in hiring career attorneys.”
The earlier letter simply offered advice to Sessions on eradicating what it described as the “ideological rot” that already has been “laid bare by the Office of Inspector General.”
That office found, in a 250-page report, “the toxic manner in which the division placed preferences on voting rights victim cohorts and bullied employees from daring to enforce the law in a colorblind fashion.”
Obama’s picks, the letter charged, “did not believe civil rights laws should protect all Americans.” Further, division employees posted on public websites criticisms of workers “who were openly Christian.”
“During the Obama administration, the division served purely ideological ends with rigidity unmatched in other federal offices. Entrenched federal bureaucrats jettisoned precepts like equal enforcement in favor of political and racialized dogmas,” the earlier letter explained. The letter pleaded for leadership in the division to be taken away from “political activists.”
“Perhaps one of the greatest myths pushed by the Obama DOJ’s apologists was the claim of being the driving force for voter protection. That administration’s record paints an entirely different picture. In the eight year period, hardly any cases were filed under the Voting Rights and National Vote Registration Acts. At no time did the division bring a suit against voting discrimination or intimidation on its own. Yet, the public perception was that the previous attorneys general were somehow vigorous champions of civil rights.”