May 15, 2007

Republican Big Tent Problem

TPMMuckraker reported that since 2005 the Voting Rights section in the Department of Justice has lost four out of the six African-American attorneys that had made up the civil service (non-political) attorneys out of 35 total attorneys in this section. And things are just as bleak in the Civil Rights Division.

An analysis by ABC's Washington, D.C. affiliate last week showed that the criminal section of the Civil Rights Division had a similarly bleak record: Out of fifty attorneys in the criminal section, they found, only two are African-American. Not a single African-American attorney had been hired since 2003.

Let's repeat that: not one African-American attorney was hired since 2003 in the Civil Rights division.

Just think about what that says about the state of the Republican Big Tent. For all the token figureheads they put in public view (Colin Powell, Condolezza Rice, Kenneth Blackwell, etc.) there must be a pacity of African-Americans conservatives either willing to do the Administration's bidding or who per-Monica can be trusted to do their bidding.

Even Paul McNaulty's predecessor's predecessor, Larry Thompson, another highly visible Bush African-American appointee, wasn't sufficiently interested in another position in Bush's administration. (Smart guy)

Perhaps it all boils down to the point that Steve Benen made the other day: it must be hard finding qualified African-American attorneys with an inate hostility to civil rights enforcement.

For whatever reason, it is pretty clear that the Bush administration didn't even bother to try to hide their racist goal of subverting purpose of the Civil Rights Division and the Voting Rights section by putting in a token who would at least make it harder to make that charge stick.

Additional evidence for this assertion can be found in this pre-2004 analysis which showed that even before Bush's second term, the number of civil rights cases dropped precipiously. Indeed:

The data show that one factor driving the disparate trends is the very different way that the various categories of cases are dealt with by US Attorneys and their assistants. In FY 2003, for example the prosecutors chose to file formal charges in almost all (90%) of the immigration cases presented to them by the investigative agencies. When it came to civil rights, however, they only prosecuted 5%.

Furthermore, under the Bush DoJ during the first five years, only one case charging voting discrimination to protect the rights of African-Americans to vote was brought forward, while the very first reverse discrimination case (whites being discriminated against by non-whites) was prosecuted.

So zero new African-American attorneys hired in a key area of the DoJ since 2003, a mere 5% (before 2004) civil rights cases were prosecuted by the Bush DoJ, one votings rights case prosecuted to protect African-Americans right to vote, and one voting rights case to protect white Americans right to vote. It sure seems like one could detect a pattern.

Some important reports:

  • Joseph Rich, chief of the voting section in the DoJ, affirms the abysmal record.

  • Politicization of the Voting Rights section affects Georgia redistricting case.

  • Hiring practices in DoJ emphasize conservative credentials, deemphasize civil rights enforcement experience.

Posted by Mary at May 15, 2007 07:17 AM | Race | Technorati links |

Sarkozy in Berlin

Posted by: ccoaler at May 16, 2007 02:38 AM

One correction. The Voting Section and the Criminal Section are PARTS of the Civil Rights Division.

It's the Criminal Section that hasn't hired a black attorney since 2003. The Voting Section has hired two (though this isn't in the stuff you quote).

Posted by: icejustice at May 16, 2007 06:28 PM